Cooler weather and pleasant breezes are usually the norm in October, making it one of the best months to garden in southern California.
Plant And Upgrade Lawns: October is the ideal time of the year to replace lawns or patch bald spots with seed or sod. New lawns need lots of water to take root. Shorter days and milder October temperatures will cause less stress on new plantings. Grasses that do well in southern California include fescue, Bermuda and St. Augustine (the last two go dormant in winter). For existing lawns, now is a good time to dethatch and aerate your lawn.
Start A New Herb Garden: There’s nothing like fresh herbs from the garden. Enjoy them in fall and winter by planting now. Add already sprouting chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, lavender, parsley and rosemary.
Fertilize Citrus in Early October: Nitrogen should be applied to citrus trees in late summer/early fall. If you haven’t already, fertilize trees in October. No need to apply fertilizer to newly planted trees. The more mature and larger the tree, the more fertilizer to use. Make sure to water the soil around the tree before and after fertilizing. Add the specified amount shown on the fertilizer container along the tree’s drip line and mix into the soil.
Plant Native Shrubs: Native shrubs planted now have time to establish themselves during fall and winter, which will lead to a healthy growth spurt in spring. Shrubs that do particularly well are California wild lilac, lemonade berry, blue elderberry, black sage and varieties of manzanita.
Plant Vegetables: Whether in the ground or in pots, start your fall vegetable garden by first removing any remaining summer vegetables. Add nutrient-rich, well-draining soil amendments. Add a six-pack of vegetable plants and water as needed. Vegetables that can be planted in October include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale, celery, onions, garlic, peas, radishes and spinach.
A Water-Friendly Landscape: If you’re considering introducing water-friendly elements to your landscape, now is the time. You can do it yourself or hire a landscaper. Plant types that do nicely with little water are tall grasses, succulents and just about any type of native plant or shrub. Install a drip irrigation system to your new landscape since it is more efficient than watering with sprinklers.
Divide Perennials: After a few years, perennials begin to form large clumps and tend to look barren in the middle. Keep your perennials at their best by gently dividing and loosening them at their roots and planting the new smaller plants elsewhere in the garden. Make sure to replace the soil around the original plant.