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Master Gardener Journal  


T H I N G S   T O   E X P E C T   &   T H I N G S   T O   D O



by Terry H. Mikel,
Extension Agent, Commercial Horticulture


GROWTH RECOVERY of summer-weary plants can be expected with the cooling nighttime temperatures.

PREMATURE LEAF DROP late in October is likely a result of the stresses of the summer.

ORANGES AND TANGERINES CAN SPLIT during this season as they enlarge in size. Earlier damage from the sun on the rind makes the rind less supple and less resilient to stretching as the fruits gain size.

MESOPHYLL COLLAPSE is a sudden wilt or drop of citrus leaves provoked by abrupt weather changes. Twig dieback and gumming often occur with this condition.

ALTERNARIA ROT may be found in blossom ends of Navels and occasionally tangelos. No chemical control is available.

FUNGUS DISEASE IN FREQUENTLY WATERED WINTER GRASS - Minimize watering frequency to slow succulent growth and promptly treat with recommended fungicides. This becomes worsened by periods of warm weather, causing even more soft, vulnerable growth.

PLANT WINTER-HARDY TREES, SHRUBS AND VINES. The frost sensitive ones (citrus, bougainvilleas, etc.) can be risky after October.

SOW WILDFLOWER SEED in October to have a spectacular show in late spring. Once tried, most people become addicted to the easy and natural color display.

PLANT ANNUAL SPRING COLOR in mid-to-late October. The nurseries will be packed with glorious selections in every size, color, and shape. Spend time preparing the soil for the explosive growth of the plants. Everything you do "up front" will show the most rewards. It's hard to overcome a poor start with flowers and vegetables.

CUT BACK WATERING FREQUENCIES. The shorter days mean cooling temperatures and slower plant growth, allow the soil to remain wetter longer.

OVERSEED ESTABLISHED BERMUDA GRASS LAWNS from mid-October through mid-November for green grass (and mowing practice!) all winter. If your lawn has suffered from the late spring and hot summer, it's best not to overseed this year to help it out.

BERMUDA RESPONDS with a light fall application of potassium, no matter whether you overseed or not. We rarely recommend potassium for plants here, but potassium for Bermuda helps it "rest" better and then come out of dormancy with improved vigor.

PLANT COOL SEASON VEGETABLES starting in October. The cool season vegetables are ones you eat the roots, stems, leaves or immature flowers. If planting these cool season vegetables is done and the days are still warm, you will find that sprinkling the seedbed with water will cool the soil more. Many of these seeds need cool temperatures to sprout.

ONIONS PLANTED FOR BULBS should be sown in mid-October (remember Grano 1015Y? The 1015 indicates the planting date). Seeds or seedlings work the best. If you want the best scallions, plant the onion sets. These grow quickly into luscious green onions, but rarely perform as well as seeds or seedlings for the later bulbs. The Grand Canyon Sweet(TM) variety works best here.


Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated October 4, 2003
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopa-hort@ag.arizona.edu 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092