Upper Midwest garden chores in October are limited but still important. This is the time to extend the plants that still have some life in them and prepare everything for winter. Take care of chores in the flower beds, vegetable gardens, and lawn.
Managing Flowers in October in Midwest Gardens
Flowers are close to being done blooming in the upper Midwest in October, but there is still a lot to do for annuals, perennials, and bulbs:
- Keep deadheading any annuals that are still in bloom. Water as needed
- Remove spent annuals for composting
- Bring in any tender potted plants, such as tropical plants
- Plant bulbs for spring flowers
- Divide perennials that are getting crowded
- Cutback browning perennials
- Remove and store tender bulbs like gladiolas, dahlias, and cannas
October Vegetable Gardening To-Do List
Your vegetable patch needs some care in October. Plant some cold-tolerant crops like radish, carrots, spinach, and kale, or just clean up the beds. Harvest winter squashes when the stems brown and start to dry. Remove spent plants and compost them. If there are any signs of disease, throw the plants out. Prepare the soil for next year by mixing in compost or other organic matter.
October Gardening Tasks for Midwest Lawns
Your upper Midwest lawn is getting ready to go dormant for winter, but there are still things to do this month:
- Keep mowing the grass as long as it continues to grow
- Mulch or rake up and compost leaves
- Fertilize the grass
- For the last mow, cut the grass lower to the ground
Taking Care of Trees and Shrubs in October
October is a good time to put in new trees or shrubs. They have time to develop roots now without the stress of summer heat. Water these new plants regularly so the roots grow strong and deep. Wrap the trunks to protect them from deer.
Trees that tend to bleed and could be damaged by spring pruning can be trimmed now. These include maple, birch, oak, locust, mountain ash, and black walnut. Put mulch around the trunks of trees and shrubs to hold moisture in the ground.