UC Master Gardeners of Butte County
University of California
UC Master Gardeners of Butte County

Garden Tips for October


  • Ground covers planted this month through November will establish root systems to support next spring’s growth surge.
  • Plant cover crops in vegetable beds to enhance soil structure and protect top soil from erosion. Some, such as fava beans, will add beneficial nitrogen to the soil when cultivated in spring.
  • If azalea, gardenia, or camellia leaves are yellowing between the veins apply chelated iron.
  • Plant garlic and onions from early October till early November.
  • Plant next spring’s bulbs, adding bone meal or phosphate to the hole. Mulch afterward. Add more mulch to bulbs and tubers left in the ground.
  • Consider planting golden currant (Ribes aureum). This ornamental deciduous shrub is ideal for planting beneath oak trees. Its yellow flowers turn orange after pollination by bees.


  • Lawn care: If there is no rain continue to occasionally water cool-season lawns. Over-seed Bermuda grass with rye grass for a green lawn in winter. Fertilize established lawns and reseed bare spots.
  • Feed roses this month for about six more weeks of blooms.
  • Protect finished compost piles from rain.
  • Fertilize perennials with formulas of 0-20-0 to promote root development.
  • Reprogram sprinkling system to “off” or to a less frequent irrigation schedule.

Pest and disease control

  • Look for newly-hatched plant pests under leaves, rocks, and garden ornaments.
  • Be on the watch for the brown marmorated stink bug, a recent arrival to our area. It moves into houses and structures now to survive the winter.
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