Landscape To-Do List for October

Stay wicked-busy this month in your fall garden. From harvesting to planting to tidying up, there’s plenty to do to prep it for spring.

October can be quite magical. The cooler temperatures and crisp air beckon, encouraging us to slow down and linger longer outdoors, perhaps with a pumpkin spice latte in hand.

Even though our gardens are slowing down, too, there’s still plenty to do for them — from harvesting to planting to tidying up.


First of all, a lawn is not necessary and we have coupons to encourage you to remove it. Of course, if grass is simply a must, plant sod or seeds now and get it established before Oct. 31.

planting sod

Palms and succulents

To ensure survival and long-term health, plant all palms and succulents (e.g. yucca, agave, hesperaloe, etc.) before the end of the month. Don’t get tricked into planting later.


Plant roots require oxygen to grow and sustain themselves, and grass roots are no different. Core aerate at least every other year, preferably once a year.



Apply high quality, double screened compost onto your lawns and perennial beds. Compost provides energy and nutrients for organisms and plants. Some lawn experts suggest top dressing (compost and sand mix) but this isn’t necessary. Compost alone will suffice.

spreading compost


Fertilizer helps the lawn and woody plants grow with enthusiasm in the spring. But remember: a little bit goes a long way. Apply organic fertilizers no later than mid-October and manufactured fertilizers no later than Oct. 31. For plants, a small amount of compost and fertilizer is ideal.

fertilizing lawn


Sow all Texas wildflower seeds by Oct. 31. Seeds must have contact with soil to germinate properly. Clean out debris to ensure proper seed-to-soil contact.

woman sowing a seed

Irrigation system

By the end of October, all irrigation controllers should be turned off. In fact, the next four months is when you can give your in-ground sprinkler system a break and just run it manually once per month.

For more landscape tips, check out our maintenance section — it’s cleverly organized by month, plant type and topic.

Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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