October 2020
Onslow County Center

By Ebony Harrison, Master Gardener Volunteer of Onslow County
Perennials are herbaceous plants that die back to the ground in the fall (leaves and stems). In spring, new growth comes from roots (bulbs/corm/ rhizomes) that have survived the winter. Perennials flower for weeks during their growing period and most live for several years. If a perennial has been growing in the same location for three or more years or if it has outgrown its location, it would benefit from division. 
Plant division reduces overcrowding which can increase chances of disease and insect damage. It is also an easy way to propagate plants to use in other areas of your garden, to share, or as a gift! 

The best time to divide perennials is in the spring when new growth is 2 to 3 inches or during the fall when foliage starts to die. Try to avoid dividing during the summer to reduce additional stress on the plants.

Step 1
Begin digging up the root ball. Dig around the circumference of the plant several inches away from where it is growing from the ground. 
Using this practice will help save as much as the root zone as possible.

Step 2
Once the root ball is exposed, divide the clump into 3-4 even sections. 
This can be done with a shovelspade, or knife. Trim the foliage to 4-6 inches.

Step 3
Plant the new divisions in prepared locations. Apply an even layer of mulch to retain moisture and water deeply. Water regularly to help establish.

October Tips & Tasks
  • It's time to plant your cabbage, kale, collards, Swiss chard and leaf lettuce, through mid- October. Radish, spinach, turnip, salad greens garlic, and short-day varieties of onions can also be sown.
  • Tomatoes and peppers can be protected from frost by covering them up when the temperature drops to extend their growing season.
  • If you haven't started cleaning up old plants and weeding, now is the time. You can use the grass clippings and dead leaves in your fresh layer of mulch.

  • Winterizing products are starting to appear in lawn and garden centers, but remember: fertilizers containing nitrogen, if applied in the fall, can injure warm-season grasses. However, potassium can be beneficial by enhancing cold tolerance of turf grasses. If a soil test indicates that your soil is low in potassium, it can be applied at a rate of 1 pound of potash per 1000 square feet of lawn. The only winterizing fertilizer you need on your lawn is one that contains potassium; and you only need that if your soil is low in potassium. Save the nitrogen for after green-up next spring.
*** If you haven't sampled your soil recently, go ahead now to avoid the peak season sample fee! 
If you send your sample through the N.C. Cooperative Extension's Onslow County Center, make sure it is received by November 15 to ensure that it reaches NCDA by the deadline! ***
  • Raise your lawn mower height by half an inch. This will allow your grass to root more deeply and store more carbohydrates going in to winter.
  • Scout lawns for large patch now. Look for areas of thinning turf surrounded by a yellow or orange halo. If you aren't sure, contact the Plant Clinic by calling (910) 455-5873 or email photos to [email protected]
Trees and shrubs
  • Fall is the best time of year to plant and transplant trees, shrubs, and perennials. It is also a great time to divide and replant perennials. Keep new plantings well-watered during their first several weeks as they get established.
  • As perennial beds go dormant, consider leaving dead stems for beneficial insects to overwinter in and seed heads from plants like Sedum, Echinacea and Black Eyed Susans for the birds.
  •  Collect leaves and debris for composting, but don't compost insect or disease-laden plant material.
  •   Instead of bagging up fallen leaves, rake them over flower beds as a free source of mulch that will add nutrients to the soil, help prevent weeds, and regulate soil moisture and temperatures 
Upcoming Events

3 Ways to Register

1. Call our office
at 910-455-5873, MON-FRI, 8AM-5PM

2. Email Emoni Burgess

3. Send us a message
on our Gardening in Onslow County Facebook page including your name and email address
Please note: We only have a few spots left for folks to join us on Zoom. Anyone who registers after we've reached our max number of participants will receive our recorded Zoom sessions and videos by email.
Are you interested in becoming a
Master Gardener Volunteer of Onslow?

The Master Gardener volunteers of Onslow County provide outreach and education to the residents of Onslow County using research-based gardening information. They also help maintain the Discovery Gardens, work with youth, provide outreach at public events, and are provided with exclusive training opportunities to learn more about horticulture topics. 

For more information about this our Master Gardener Volunteer program:

What's in season?  
Summer favorites are coming to an end, although we still have some peppers, okra, ad eggplant.  

Fall is in the air!  
Pears (great for preserves), peanuts, Muscadines and Scuppernongs are available!

For more information on operation times, product availability, and vendor applications please 

Like their Facebook page: 
Visit their website: 

2020 Season

The last Tuesday market was August 18th, 2020

Saturday, April 18 - Nov 14
830am - 130pm
4024 Richlands Hwy, Jacksonville, NC
(Rain or Shine)

Mark your calendars for the Holiday Market!
More details to follow
Saturday, November 28th
Saturday, December 5th
Saturday, December 12th

If you have any additional questions please contact our Local Foods Coordinator, Marie Bowman, using the information below.

Marie Bowman
Local Foods Coordinator
4024 Richlands Hwy, Jacksonville, NC
(910) 455-5873


Our North Carolina Cooperative Extension - Onslow County Center has started a hashtag 
#GrowOnslow to show our support of our Local Farmers, Agriculture, Family and Consumer Education, 4-H & Youth Development, and Community & Rural Development

Show your support by using #GrowOnslow
in your related Facebook and Instagram photos and posts!

Do you live in Onslow County and have garden-related questions?
Are you wondering why your plants are not looking great, or maybe want to know what a certain weed is?

The Plant Clinic is a free service through the NC Cooperative Extension and staffed by Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. The physical clinic is currently closed to the public, but questions are being answered!

Let us know how we can help by:

1. Call 910-455-5873 
*Due to COVID-19 our Master Gardeners are temporarily out of the office*

While you are there, you can post your questions to be answered by email using the 'Ask an Expert' tool.

3. Email a Master Gardener your questions or sample photos at [email protected]

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status or disability.  In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.  North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating. 
Emilee Morrison, Extension Agent, 
Agriculture - Horticulture
4024 Richlands Hwy, Jacksonville, NC 28540