Juniper webworms attack several different kinds of ground cover and shrub junipers. Shore junipers are particularly relished by these caterpillars. The adult moth lays eggs in early summer and the young larvae begin feeding on the inner foliage. By autumn they have formed small groups containing three to five caterpillars in a mass of webbing. They overwinter and resume feeding in early spring. Look for yellowing needles and pull apart branches to check for silk webbing, plant debris, and the tan caterpillars with brown stripes. Prune out any webs and brown foliage. If caterpillars are numerous you may want to apply a pesticide containing acephate.
Bring houseplants inside when night temperatures drop to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray plants with a 1% horticultural oil solution to prevent any insects or eggs from making their way into your home.
As temperatures drop, plants move carbohydrates from their leaves to their roots. Apply a herbicide now to the foliage of weeds and it will also be moved to the roots. An application of glyphosate will control woody and perennial weeds. Be sure to follow the directions on the label.
If you have magnolia scale, October is a good time to apply a 2% horticultural oil solution. Check your magnolias for the large adult females. They protrude from the twigs and may be up to one-half inch long and are yellow or brown. A moderate to heavy infestation produces honeydew which often results in the growth of black sooty mold. Uncontrolled infestations can reduce foliage and flower production. If you see a tube of dense webbing over the scales it is evidence of predation by a scale-eating caterpillar and spraying may not be necessary.
Making your own compost is a good way to recycle your organic yard waste. It also saves you money when it’s time to amend your soil. Good compost needs water, nutrients, and oxygen. Nature provides the water through rain and the waste itself provides the nutrients. All you have to do is chop or shred the pieces into digestible bits and occasionally turn your compost to give it enough oxygen.
Fall is a good time to divide and replant your perennials that have become over crowded. Carefully remove clumps of perennials and separate them into smaller plants. Be sure to leave each new plant with viable roots and at least one healthy growing tip. While you are replanting them, you can amend your soil with compost. Dividing your perennials and planting them in soil revitalized by rich organic matter encourages vigorous new growth. Less crowded conditions and healthy plants make pest and disease problems less likely.
Fall is an important time for deciduous trees. Most of their root growth occurs during this cool season. Because of this it is very important to water any drought stressed trees. The soil should be moist even after the trees have lost their leaves. Many trees, especially broad-leafed evergreens like holly and magnolia, are more likely to be injured in the winter if they go into it dry. If October weather is cool, you may only have to water once. It won’t cost you much in time and effort, but it will mean a world of difference to your trees.
Be sure to clean up autumn leaves often. It only takes a week’s worth of leaves to kill patches of your lawn. Chop leaves and use them as mulch or add them to your compost. Compost any leaves that may have diseases or insect pests.