October Tips and Tasks

Normal fall needle yellowing on white pine

Normal fall needle yellowing on white pine

  • Fall coloration on white pines happens every fall but in some years it is more noticeable. The inner needles yellow and drop off. This can also occur on rhododendrons and other evergreen shrubs. This is normal for this time of year.
  • Flower buds are forming or are already formed on spring-flowering shrubs. To prevent reducing next year’s bloom, don’t prune spring-flowering shrubs like azaleas and rhododendrons until after they bloom next spring.
  • Nursery stock trees and shrubs can be planted until the ground freezes. Carefully examine trees and shrubs prior to purchase to assess quality. With balled and burlap stock cut the twine around the ball and cut away the nylon or burlap wrapping.
  • Daffodil bulbs, alliums and other spring-flowering bulbs can be planted now. Plant them in a sunny spot, in well-drained soil. Tulip bulbs should be planted from mid-October through November to prevent them from sprouting prematurely.
  • Black rat snakes may still be hatching in October. These harmless baby snakes are not black at hatching but are a light gray with dark brown rectangular markings down the back.
  • Many different spiders like jumping spiders, yellow house spiders, wolf spiders may enter homes. They can wander indoors through or around windows, doors, and cracks. Caulk cracks and tighten up around doors and windows, especially those at ground level. Most spiders are shy and harmless to humans. Normally, they will not attempt to bite unless accidentally trapped or held. They are beneficial by feeding on nuisance insects. Killing of spiders should be avoided, if possible.
Wolf Spider

Wolf spider
Photo: Lesley Ingram, Bugwood.org

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