top of page
Harvest the Last of Your Tree Fruits

Cool temperatures, fall color, and tree fruit harvesting mark this month. Fresh cider-squeezing parties can be found at your local orchards and home growers. There might even be a harvest festival to attend.


Tree fruits may mean you need a ladder. Take special care for ladder safety. Discard any fruit that has insect holes in an air-tight bag; do not compost it. Pick all the fruit off the tree, particularly mummies (dried, misshapen fruit). Any fruit left on the tree can harbor pests and microbes that will inoculate next year’s crop.


Trim off any branches damaged in picking, but don’t make any pruning cuts as it will increase the likelihood of winter damage to tissues. Watch for and remove any egg masses that will be wrapped around the tips of branches. These were the last tasks for dying moths.

Support Native Grasslands and Conservation

The Pacific Northwest native prairie is a reminder of our glacial past. Northwest coastal tribes nurtured the prairie and used the grasslands for food and medicine. In the past 150 years, the prairies have been plowed under for farming and to build our roads, towns, and cities. This loss makes the northwest native prairie one of the most endangered ecosystems in the nation.


One surviving northwest prairie is found on Whidbey Island. The Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship (PRI) is working to restore the native prairie and the endangered Golden Paintbrush plant, Castilleja levisecta.


Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship : What We Do : Living Laboratory : Prairie


Prairie-Landowner-Guide-Western-WA1.pdf (

10 paintbrush.jpg

Photo used with permission

The Golden Paintbrush prairie flower, Castilleja levisecta, has returned to Pacific Northwest prairies through conservation efforts.

Plant Natives Now for Healthy Roots and Drought Tolerance

October is an ideal time of year to plant native perennials, grasses, and ferns. Planting native species in the fall promotes healthy roots during the rainy season, which increases the plant's ability to survive the next dry season.


The Pacific Northwest is unlike other parts of the nation because our dry season is also our growing season. Northwest native plants tend to be drought tolerant and have deep roots.

10 Native Plants.jpg

Photo used with permission

A wide variety of native plants is available for enhancing your garden.

Winterize Irrigation Systems

Disconnect your hoses from the water source, drain the water, and store the hoses away from the elements and rodents. Put insulated covers on your water spigots, valves, and in-ground sprinkler heads to prevent damage from freezing expansion.

Authored by Jim Peskuric, Island County Master Gardener
bottom of page