NDSU Extension Service - Stark & Billings County


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October Yard and Garden Tips

Timely topics in yards and gardens

Plant garlic now
Divide cloves and set 4–6 inches apart. Cover with 2 inches of soil. Irrigate. Cover with 4 inches of straw in November. Hardneck varieties are most hardy.

Clean under fruit trees
Rake and remove fallen leaves and fruits in the orchard. This litter can be a source of diseases and insect pests next year. Look out for wasps when picking up fallen fruits in autumn.

Storing apples
Apples store best in a cool (near 32°F), humid (90% RH), dark place. A refrigerator is best, but a cool root cellar or garage is acceptable. If refrigerated, store in perforated plastic bags to increase humidity.

Clean up perennials after frost
Foliage may be kept to trap snow or to add winter interest. Remove diseased foliage. Mulch after the soil freezes (mid-November). Mulching too early can attract rodents and prevent hardening.

Dig and store gladiolus
Shake off dirt; cut stems. Store in a warm, airy spot (garage) for 2–3 weeks. Discard old, shriveled corm and keep new ones (at least 1/2 inch diameter). Small corms won’t bloom next year. Keep cool (40°F) in labeled paper bags.

Fall needle drop
Old needles (located near the trunk) are supposed to turn brown and drop. As long as young needles (located near the tips of branches) are healthy, the tree is full of life.

Wrap young trees
Place white guards or wrap Kraft paper around trunks. This prevents cracking caused by the scalding rays of the winter sun. Linden, maple, mountain ash and fruit trees are very sensitive.

Seeding and sodding the lawn
Do not sow grass seed now. The seedlings will not have enough time to get established. Sod can be laid until the ground freezes.

Raking leaves
Shred leaves with your mower. The lawn will not suffocate from the mulched leaves as long as you can see the grass blades after mowing. Thick layers of leaves must be raked.

Boxelder bugs swarming
Caulk and seal crevices near doors, windows and foundation. Spray bugs with detergent (5 tbsp. per gallon of water). Repeat as needed. Sweep intruders and toss outside.

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