Your Monthly Grow-zine

October 2018

Things to do in the garden this month...

Fertilize!  The summer fertilizer blackout is over and our plants are ready for a good feeding. For options on what to use, see our page on Fertilizing.

Trees, shrubs, flowering perennials and most everything else will all benefit from the nutrients in fertilizers. The gorgeous and huge Dracaena pictured above has apparently been well-fed!

Gardenias and azaleas should be fed now - like today! They should be given their last fertilization of the year by October 1st. The fertilizer blackout ended September 30th so that doesn't give us much time but this feeding is important for the health of these plants.

Water twice a week if no rain - and temps are still high. October usually starts out very warm and cools sightly toward the middle to end of the month.

Do a hard pruning on anything that needs it by October 15th at the latest. Minor trimming and shaping you can do any time of year but if you cut things way back they need time to flush out a bit before any winter cold snaps.

Wait to plant winter annuals! You may see things like geraniums at the box stores but it's too early - and too hot - for them now.


Landscape Layering:
Creating "Stair Steps" of Plants

Sago Palm, Ruella, Purple Queen

Garden beds along a home's foundation are often planted with a single line of shrubs, But you can spice up the look of foundation plantings by using tiered groupings of plants.

One way to do this is to deepen the bed and add another "layer" (or several)  in front of the existing foundation shrubs. This is a good solution for those of us who want more garden space but don't have room for it anywhere else.

Or you can create a new look by removing the basic shrubs and starting anew with a combo of colors and heights. And you don't have to stick to straight lines...add a "drift" of the same plant here and there for a more casual, nature-did-it look.

Of course how many layers or tiers you have room for is key. If you can't enlarge the bed and it's only 2 feet deep you may have to use more compact plants and stagger plantings - one up and the next one back - to get the effect of layers in the space you have.

A lot of people want to plant taller things between windows. This tends to break up the landscaping flow, so it's better to add plants with more height near the entry rather than having them pop up here and there.

Great new groundcover!

Mecardonia Is a low-growing perennial with cheery little yellow flowers, blooming on and off most of the year.

It only grows to about 5 inches tall, doing best in Zone 10.

It can work as a non-invasive, carpet-like groundcover or as a cascading container plant.

Though sources say full sun is fine, I believe giving it some afternoon shade may work better. In full sun it will flower more but will need very frequent watering.

When shopping for plants...

...never buy shrubs in a 1-gallon pot.

They will almost always look small and scrawny, never filling out nicely. Buy 3-gallon (or larger).

One-gallon size is fine for small perennials and groundcovers.

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Chase Landre

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Fall Citrus Care

Fertilize your citrus trees - it's time for their fall feeding.

Use fertilizer made specially for citrus and buy a good-quality brand.

IMPORTANT! Always water the ground well around the tree before and after applying granular fertilizer so it won't burn surface roots.

Be sure to broadcast the fertilizer along the drip line (farthest foliage point).

You can apply the final spray now - when the fruit on your trees is close to ripening.

Spraying should be done in spring, summer and fall to control insects and set the fruit.

Use a mixture of Liquid Copper (2 tsp. per gallon of water) and 50% Malathion (2 tsp. per gallon of water). Add a miticide to combat mites.

For more info, see our page on How to Grow Citrus.

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A visitor asks...

"I understand, from reading your website, that Bismark palms are very sensitive to transplanting. Since Lantania palms look similar, is that the issue with Lantania palms, as well?"

I consulted a grower friend - he said Latanias are even more touchy than Bismarcks when it come to transplanting.

He said if you're moving one, get the very biggest rootball you can...and if the palm is very mature, it may need to be root-pruned.

If possible, have an experienced pro move the palm for you.

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and landscaping!

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Chase Landre

author of

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