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October Gardening Tasks

Expand the categories below to learn more about what you need to do this month.

Soil Testing

Fall is a great time to test the soil in your beds for plant nutrients and lime needs. Although limestone can be put out any time it’s needed, a fall lime application is recommended because the lime can have several months to be activated during the winter months before you do a spring garden. Use dolomitic limestone if you also need magnesium. It is important to till in any needed lime for faster soil pH adjustment.

UGA soil tests usually take 7-10 working days, so test now to have the results when you plant bulbs and beds. You should also incorporate any needed phosphorus at this time. This can be done by tillage as well. Good sources of phosphorus include bone meals or rock phosphate if you use an organic approach. Although not “organic”, superphosphate (0-20-0) and triple superphosphate (0-46-0) are excellent phosphorus sources.


Fruit Trees




If you haven’t already done it, early October is a good time to bring those houseplants in that you’ve had outdoors! Especially get them in before the night temperatures get to 50 degrees or below. Some species can take cool nights, but many suffer even chill injury at just 50 degrees or so. Clean, wash and spray before moving indoors to reduce insects. Poinsettias and holiday cacti can be forced into Thanksgiving or Christmas bloom by starting dark treatment of short days.

Place them in the house according to light needs and for many species, start watering less for their winter rest. Be careful next spring when you bring them back out and don’t suddenly put them in full sun as they might suffer sunscald!

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