By Dr. Robert E. Moon
October is a good month for working on your landscape. The weather is cooler and more inviting to do some needed annual chores without suffering a heat stroke!.
Now is the time to add mulch to your shrub beds and tree wells to help control weeds and conserve moisture for your plants during the winter cold, dehydrating winds. There are many different kinds of mulch and I know everyone has a preference. My preference is the brown dyed mulch. It holds up very well in the landscape and it keeps color longer for a fresher appearance. In bare bed areas, add 2 inches of mulch and in areas where you already have mulch, add no more than 1 inch. Treat with a pre-emergent weed control after mulching to help prevent weeds in the spring. You can apply Preem, Pendimethalin, or Halts. Apply as per label and remember, you cannot grow seeded plants in the areas where a pre-emergent has been applied.
Removing Dead Wood from Trees and Shrubs
Before leaf drop, remove all dead wood from your trees and shrubs. Use a razor saw for large branch removal. If branches are higher in the tree, use a pole pruner. Hand pruners can be used for small branch removal. Make all cutes even or at the shoulder of the branch. Absolutely do not leave stubs when removing branches. Also do not tear the bark when pruning.
Fertilize trees with a granular fertilizer. Apply ¼ to ½ pound of fertilizer per inch trunk diameter. Spread the fertilizer evening from trunk of tree to 3 feet past the drip line of the tree. Water fertilizer in after applying.