The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 29, 2012

Get things prepared for winter

By Jo Ann Nicholas
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Fall is officially here and with it we can look forward to some cool, crisp and beautiful days.

My flowers love this time of year after enduring the hot, dry summer. This will be the last Master Gardener column for 2012, so I would like to share some horticulture tips from Oklahoma State University with you as the remaining garden season comes to a close.

• TURFGRASS: We can continue to establish or over-seed cool-season lawns like fescue through October. In November, cool-season grasses should be fertilized with one pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The mowing height should be lowered to approximately 2 to 21⁄2 inches for fall and winter. Keep falling leaves off fescue to avoid damage to the foliage. Your warm-season lawns should be mowed and neatly edged before a killing frost. Broadleaf weeds like dandelions can be easily controlled during October and into November.

• FLOWERS: Hardy mums are appearing everywhere for sale at this time. They add brilliant colors, and planted in your garden can be enjoyed for seasons to come. Plant cool-season annuals like pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale, snapdragons and dusty miller as temperatures become cooler. Peonies, daylilies and other spring-flowering perennials should be divided or planted now. In October, dig and store tender perennials like cannas, dahlias and caladiums in a cool, dry location. If you have put your houseplants out for the summer check and treat them for insect pests before bringing them indoors and repot rootbound plants. Bulbs such as tulips can be successfully planted through the middle of November.

• VEGETABLES: There is still time in October to plant radishes and mustard in the fall garden. Use a cold frame device to plant spinach, lettuce and various other cool-season crops for production most of the winter.

• TREES AND SHRUBS: Prune deciduous trees in the early part of winter. Prune only for structural and safety purposes. Wrap young, thin-barked trees with a commercial protective material to prevent winter sunscald. Apply dormant oil for scale-infested trees and shrubs before temperatures fall below 40 degrees. Always follow label directions. In November you can continue to plant balled and burlapped trees.

Some additional tips as we wind up the garden season: Leftover garden seeds can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer until next planting season. Add to compost and use as mulch or till into garden plots. Remove all debris from the garden to prevent overwintering of various garden pests. Start new planting bed preparations now with plenty of organic matter. Last but not least, clean and store your garden and landscape tools. Coat with a light application of oil to prevent rusting. Drain fuel tanks, irrigation lines, hoses and bring your hoses indoors.

Anyone with questions should call the Garfield County OSU Extension office at 237-1228, and Master Gardeners will be glad to answer your questions. Enjoy your winter time and plan for next spring’s awakening of our gardens once again.

Nicholas is a member of Garfield County Master Gardeners.