In the Garden: Your October Maintenance Checklist

CraigBergmannWe’re sharing the monthly garden maintenance checklists we use to nurture nearly 100 gardens to help you keep on top of maintenance in your own garden. 

With the leaves beginning to turn and temperatures dropping, it’s time to start putting the garden to bed and plan for holiday decor.


  1. Critique and Plan

    1. Order next year’s fall annuals
    2. Order winter greens
    3. Take pictures of fall plantings to guide planning


  1. Plant and Divide

    1. Finish any needed perennial divisions by first week of October
    2. Dig tender bulbs like dahlias and pot in bulb crates with peat moss after first frost
    3. Continue bulb planting
    4. Take in any remaining overwinter plants


  1. Cut and Clean

    1. Start cutting back garden as plants go dormant
    2. Start fall leaf cleanup


  1. Support and Guide

    1. Check staking on asters, eupatorium, and phlox; cut back as needed


  1. Protect, Feed and Fertilize

    1. Wrap all espaliers, trees under 3” caliper, all fruit trees, thin-barked trees (especially Acer and Carpinus) prone to winter damage with burlap tree wrap
    2. Put up deer netting where needed
    3. Begin fall mulching
    4. Remove gator bags
    5. Spray Wilt-pruf on all containerized boxwoods, rhododendrons, azaleas, new evergreens, climbing roses, yews prone to wind or salt damage, espaliers when spray will not freeze before drying


  1. Winterize

    1. Make sure irrigation is shut down
    2. Drain and winterize water features
    3. Drain and store hoses


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