October has arrived, and with it, cooler temperatures. So, now is the time to plant your colorful fall annuals and perennials.
We live in Zone 8, so pay attention to this when you buy plants, seeds and bulbs online. You might be disappointed in the health of your plants if you buy those intended for areas outside of our zone.
Some of the plants that do well in Zone 8 are asters, chrysanthemums, dahlias, astilbe, coral bells, pigsqueak and goldenrods.
When planting annuals and perennials, it is always good to have proper drainage, use a good potting soil, and build up the beds to improve the drainage.
Fall is also a suitable time to apply a horticultural oil or dormant oil on your plants. This is an insecticide which helps control insects and the eggs they lay on the plants. Horticultural oil should not be applied when temperatures are above 80 degrees.
Pruning of shrubs should be done selectively this time of year, as some shrubs start getting buds for next spring during the fall. You do not want to prune the buds.
Fall is a suitable time also to apply weed controls on the lawn. Pre-emergent and post-emergent weed controls should be applied during October and November to prevent winter weeds and clean up existing weeds from the summer. Potassium (potash) can be applied to help provide a better root system for your lawn.
I would recommend that you start cutting back on watering this time of year to help prevent fungus. I would water just once per week during October and November and then, depending on the temperatures and our rainfall, cut back as needed.
Fall is also a good time to check the PH of your soil to see if lime or sulfur is needed. The best way to check the PH is to take a soil sample and have your county extension office or lawn and garden store do a soil test so you get accurate reading of what your soil needs.
Mark Deloach is the owner of Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.