Mow Lawns Correctly
Each grass species has a preferred mowing height (the height of the grass just after mowing). Check with your sod installer or read the seed product information. Never mow lower than this height, as it exposes the growing crowns to damage. Remove no more than one-third of the grass blade in any mowing or the plant's ability to photosynthesize will be adversely affected. It also stresses the lawn, making it more difficult to recover from foot traffic, for example.
Get Ready to Sow Wildflower Seeds
October is prime time for sowing wildflower seeds, so visit the nurseries and botanical gardens to purchase seeds. Read seed packs, especially mixes, to make sure the species are appropriate for your region. Or poke around in your seed storage bins to find the ones you gleaned from spent plants this spring!
Perk Up Roses
Trim lightly to remove dead or weak canes. Begin fertilizing again as the heat abates, but stop around mid-October as plants head into winter dormancy. Fresh tender growth is susceptible to frost damage.
Prune Storm-Damaged Trees
Promptly remove any broken limbs from recent storms, cutting back to the juncture with the trunk (or nearest larger branch). Trees have specialized tissue that can heal pruning cuts located there. Don't leave stubs or cut deeply into the trunk (flush cuts). These cuts don't let the tree seal the wound properly so it becomes easy entry for pests and diseases.
Even if it's still too hot to contemplate digging, layer 4 to 6 inches of compost on top of garden beds. It will continue to break down and be ready for incorporating later. Or if you're feeling ambitious, turn it under now.