With the arrival of October, there comes the end of hopefully a productive growing season. Gardeners should focus on practicing good sanitary practices to reduce the incidence of pest problems next season. For example, after pruning blackberries remove all the floricanes (the canes that fruited over the summer) from the plants and discard or burn. Also, with the incidence of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), a non-native pest of ripe fruit, excellent sanitation is a must. Remove and destroy all fruit from plantings, as the remaining fruit can be a reservoir for larvae. This means sealing up the fruit in plastic bags, and disposing of them in the garbage. For more information, see HGIC 1400, Blackberry, and HGIC 1401, Blueberry.
Take and submit soil samples from plantings if you have not done so in the last three years. All county Extension offices offer this service, and provide specific recommendations for lime and fertility. For more detailed information on how to take a soil sample, see HGIC 1652, Soil Testing.
Take advantage of fall leaves in our region to use as free mulch for fruit plantings. For a finer mulch that decomposes faster and spreads more uniformly, run the leaves through a lawnmower first before using to mulch roots. For more information, see HGIC 1604, Mulch.