October Gardening Checklist For Austin and Central Texas

October Gardening To-Dos

Stockpile of Leaf Mulch - October gardening to-dos

Stockpile leaves to use as mulch all winter

Finally! The heat should be breaking and we can all rush back outside to garden in earnest. Rains may arrive mid month to replenish soil moisture and rainwater harvesting tanks. See below for what should be on your October gardening to-dos.

Things to Do in the Garden for October


Resume fertilizer routines for plants, if needed, and according to soil test results. Fertilize trees and shrubs to encourage root growth, water well, then replenish mulch.


As temperatures fall, evaporation will slow. Monitor irrigation and reduce schedule by 1/3 until fall rains arrive.


This is the best time to plant new trees and shrubs. New stocks of perennials and grasses should be available at local nurseries, plant this month before frost arrives. Sow wildflower seeds. Plant spring blooming bulbs. See Travis County Master Gardener Betty Dunn’s recommendations for bulbs in Central Texas.


Run over fallen leaves with the lawnmower, then use the shredded material as mulch for perennials.


Add compost to lawn. Last month to add sod, be prepared to water according to temperature and weather. Overseeding is not recommended except for very high traffic areas (like dog runs.) The overseeded species stress the warm-season grasses and reduces the health of the entire lawn.


Caterpillars become active again. Monitor plants for holes and droppings. Control by picking them off or spraying with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)


Dig and store caladium bulbs when foliage dies. Monitor weather for freezes, prepare for frost protection or start to move containers indoors.


 Travis County Master Gardener Patty Leander advises getting the most value from your garden by growing vegetables that cost a premium at the grocery store. For example, romanesco cauliflower costs twice that of regular white cauliflower, yet it is easy to grow. Plant softneck varieties of garlic this month. Softneck varieties are recommended for the South because they perform better than the hardneck varieties. Stockpile leaves to use as mulch. See the full Vegetable Garden Planting Guide (Español, 繁体中文) and Vegetable Varieties for Central Texas.


Your October Indoor Gardening Checklist


If you put your houseplants outside for the summer, begin the process of bringing them inside to protect them from freezes.  You will reverse what you did in the spring, by gradually decreasing the amount of light the plant is exposed to over a 4-to-8-week period.

Daphne on CTG - October gardening to-dosAs a contributor to Central Texas Gardener (CTG), Daphne Richards, County Extension Agent-Horticulture, answers questions and shares knowledge on new and tried & true plants for Central Texas.  Check out some of our favorites for October!

CTGHow to solarize gardens|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener
CTGKitty litter in the garden|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener
CTGHow to water shrubs|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener
CTGHow to plant poppies|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener


Get Growing!

President Thomas Jefferson said “I never before knew the full value of trees. Under them I breakfast, dine, write, read and receive my company.” This handy reference will help you discover the full value of all the plants to your own garden and serve as a guide for each months to-dos: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

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