WATERING – The need for water should continue to diminish this month since the weather will be cooler. Therefore, water only as needed in order to prevent root rot.
FEEDING – By now, you should be using a fertilizer with low or no nitrogen because a high nitrogen fertilizer encourages new tender growth. Fertilizers with higher levels of Phosphorus and Potassium will prepare the tree for the colder months ahead.
WIRING – Keep a close eye on the wire because the branches will continue to thicken. Leaving the wire on the plant for too long will disfigure the branches; therefore, remove the wire if the branch remains in the desired position or if the wire is cutting into the cambium.
PEST AND DISEASES – Continue to check for pest and diseases and treat accordingly with soaps and oils. Always remember to spray a small branch first in order to make sure there will be no phytotoxic* reaction to the plant from the soap and oil spray. An example of a plant that will drop all of its leaves if sprayed with soaps and oils is Fukien Tea. *Phytotoxicity is an adverse response in plants due to chemicals applied to the leaves or soil.
TRIMMING – Continue to trim the plant when necessary to maintain the desired shape, but this should become less because of the lower levels of nitrogen, shorter days, and cooler temperatures.
PRUNING – Avoid heavy pruning if possible. Pruning will cause excessive, tender new growth, which will get damaged in cold weather. Even the new growth on cold hardy plants such as hollies and boxwoods would be damaged. It would be a waste of energy for the plant to lose all the new growth.
LIGHT –Plants that have been protected from the harsh summer sun such as maples and azalea plants can now be exposed to more sunlight. Rotating the trees on a weekly basis will prevent the trees from becoming one sided.
TEMPERATURES– The temperature should still be mild enough so that no plants will have to be protected, but you may want to get prepared. Place all of your tropical plants on one bench so you will not forget any. Also, if you have to move your plants back and forth from a protected location back outside, you may want to leave them on a cart or a tray so it is an easier chore. Some examples of tropical plants are ficus, buttonwood, bougainvillea, and Fukien Tea.
REPOTTING– Major repotting should be avoided to allow the plant’s roots to adjust to the colder weather ahead. Some very hardy plants such as junipers can still have some minor root pruning done to them.