October is the same as April, in that it is a time for cleaning. But there is one more responsibility and that is protection. You do have to protect your plants physically with wraps to prevent animals from eating your plants through the winter or winter winds from desiccating the flower buds. But we also have to be on guard for pests overwintering in the soil and re-infecting the plants again next year. October is a perfect time to think about prevention.
By now, your lawn will have completely slowed down. This is usually the garden’s final mow. Although don’t put away the mower as it is useful for picking up leaves after doing cut backs in mid-October.
If you have an irrigation system, you will need to have your system blown out. Irrigation systems are fairly precise and if water freezes in the lines over winter the ice can severely damage the heads, or worse, crack the main line somewhere in the soil. Most people have the company that installed the system; come back and blow out the lines. If not, then it can be done at home by renting an air compressor. You will find that most equipment rental shops will already be set up to rent a compressor for just this sort of thing. The compressors are heavy so it is best to have a truck or van so that you have enough space to maneuver it.
There is one slight annoyance. At the very end of October, you need to water in the trees and shrubs for the winter. You cannot use your irrigation lines once they have been blown clean so you will have to resort to using the old sprinklers. Therefore, don’t put away your garden hoses just yet.
Kevin Napora, Landscape Designer & Master Gardener, Salisbury Landscaping, Edmonton & Area