If you want to really set yourself up for a successful spring landscape, October is a great month to take care of some last minute tasks. Doing this work in your flower yard will help promote the health of your plants and bulbs over winter, plus keep your beds looking sharp through the holiday season.
Cut Bank and Prune Your Plants
October is a good month to cut back your summer-thriving perennials. By now they should have bloomed and gone to seed. It depends on where you are in Maryland as the microclimates can vary. The southern parts of Harford, Cecil and Baltimore Counties can enjoy a bit longer blooming season than the northern end of these counties.
The cooler weather is also a safer time to cut plants because pests and disease are far less active. You don’t have to cut them back severely – about a 1/3 trim is good for most plants and still provides habitat for wintering birds and insects. Cutting these plants back will keep the beds looking more orderly and help the plant bloom fuller next year.
Please note that some perennials and flowering shrubs like hydrangea, azalea, and viburnum have already set their buds for the spring bloom and should be left alone this time of year. If you have any questions with identifying or how to manage certain plants, we’d be happy to answer them.
Lay a fresh layer of mulch:
Mulch is an often unsung, underappreciated hero. But here’s what it does for your plants over winter:
- Helps retain moisture in the soil by reducing evaporation
- Provides lively micro-organisms and bacteria that consume with the decaying material
- Emits essential nitrogen, magnesium and potassium into the soil to complete the carbon cycle plants need
- Provides a blanket to the plant roots and bulbs to reduce freezing
Plus it just looks great. It gives your bed a well-kept look that makes your yard look sharp.
Get Those Leaves Under Control
Enjoy the beautiful, colorful leaf display while it lasts, because they’ll all be hitting the ground after that! There are four ways most people keep up with their leaves.
- Raking them up and placing them on tarps
- Mowing and mulching into a bag
- Mowing for to mulch the leaves inside their lawn
- Blowing them toward the edges of their property
None of these are easy tasks and take a lot of labor between October and December when all the leaves have finally fallen. For those of us who are too busy to keep up, we recommend calling a landscape company for leaf removal – like us!
Plant Spring-blooming Bulbs:
Good fall bulbs to plant include Tulips, Daffodils, and Hyacinths. They will be spring bloomers but needed to be planted now before the ground freezes. The bulbs need to endure a cool period in the ground to allow them to bloom on time. Mid October to mid-November depending on the local weather is a good time to plant these bulbs, when the air temperatures are between 40-50 degrees during the day.
Plant Fall Color:
Need a little seasonal color? Mums, Asters, Violas, and Pansies come in a range of beautiful Autumnal colors from yellow-orange and red to violet and white. Once your beds have been trimmed, cleaned, and topped with mulch, these Fall flowers bring warm and vibrant color to your home and landscape.
Although most people treat mums like annuals, the hardy cultivars can come back year after year. When it comes to pansies and violas, these are BEST planted in the Fall because they will look great now, winter over, and look even BETTER in the spring. Despite the name “pansy” these flowers and the only annuals tough enough to make it through the winter to re-bloom in the spring. Whatever color palette you love, cool season mums and pansies are essential for creating and atmosphere of cheer and comfort during the chilly months. They also provide seeds and nesting locations for birds and insects over winter.
Chesapeake Landscapes works in Harford, Baltimore and Cecil County will full service landscaping. We are your one stop shop to deal with planting and design, lawn care, mowing, and hardscape projects. Please contact us today to schedule your free consultation!