Posted  30 Sep, 2019 
In: Articles

Originally published in the September 30, 2019 edition of Agri-News

Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre, has published a “to do” list for the month of October.


  • Apply herbicides prior to freeze-up and incorporate with water (see pesticide labels for details).
  • Straw mulch application is a requirement for good winter survival of strawberries.
  • Strawberry plants will shift into dormancy after 3 to 5 frosts in the -5 C range. A protective layer of straw can be applied at this point. Temperatures of -7 C can cause some crown or bud damage; therefore, straw should be applied prior to these temperatures.
  • Clean wheat or rye straw should be applied at a 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inch) thickness over the rows.
  • Producers having difficulty finding wheat or rye straw can substitute barley, oat or flax, if necessary.
  • Straw is often applied in late October or even early November; however, recent experience suggests an earlier application (perhaps mid-October), with careful monitoring of temperatures, may be better than following a general calendar rule.


  • Complete spent cane removal of floricane raspberries.
  • Remove weeds from within row area.

Saskatoon berries

  • Remove weeds from within row area.


  • Complete harvest of any unharvested crops.
  • Consider the quality of the produce that is being placed into storage. Frozen, damaged or diseased produce will not improve in storage. Be harsh when it comes to culling.
  • If cover crops have not been planted for soil conservation, think of other ways to prevent soil erosion.
  • Consider ways of disposing of cull piles. They harbour disease, insects, and other potential problems, and are unsightly.


  • Sample soils in existing and future berry and vegetable fields at appropriate depths.
    • 0 to 6 inches and 6 to 12 inches for strawberries
    • 0 to 6, 6 to 12, and 12 to 24 inches for orchard fruit crops
    • 0 to 6 inches and 6 to 12 inches for the majority of vegetables; for deep-rooted perennial vegetables, also sample 12 to 24 inches
  • Ensure good soil moisture prior to freeze-up.
  • Apply registered herbicides.
  • This is the best time of year to make plans for changes in varieties, check in/out procedures, promotional activities, etc. as it is still fresh in your mind.
  • Plan your winter timetable now to make the best use of services that may be available.
  • Make notes of things that must be done and when you can do them, such as strawberry transplanter needs new fingers, or order additional herbicides.
  • Ensure sprayers and other equipment are repaired and ready for next year.
  • Winterize sprayers and other equipment.
  • Repaint signs if necessary.

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