Here is an excellent article from Better Homes and Gardens about fall gardens and preparing the shrubs, trees, lawns, bulbs and perennials for the winter and next spring. ENJOY!
EARLY FALL CHECKLIST
Shop for bulbs. Visit garden stores early for best selection.
Test Garden Tip: If deer or rabbits are a problem in your area, select pest-resistant bulbs such as daffodils, Siberian squill, and fritillaria.
Clear away debris from the base of roses. Fallen rose foliage can give diseases a safe place to overwinter and create problems in your garden next year.
Plant shrubs and evergreens. Early fall planting gives new plants enough time to get their roots established before winter.
Water, water, water. Give all of your plants a good drink, especially your trees. Their roots need plenty of moisture to make it through the upcoming months.
Amend your soil. Get the ground ready for next year’s beds and your fall bulbs by tilling the soil and adding home-made compost.
Plant fall annuals. As your summer blooms fade, add color to your garden with fall annuals, such as mums, pansies, and ornamental kale.
Lower the height on your mower. Grass grows more slowly in fall, but it still needs to be cut to prepare for winter. A lower cutting height helps the soil dry out more quickly in spring.
Feed the birds. Don’t forget your feathered friends; their food supply grows scarce in fall.
Divide and cut back perennials. While you’re digging them up to divide them, try rearranging plants if they haven’t been working in their current location.
Test Garden Tip: Hold off dividing asters, chrysanthemums, and other fall-blooming perennials. It’s best to split them in spring.
Rake and mulch. Left unattended, fallen tree leaves may suffocate your lawn. Shred them and they make great mulch.
Dig up summer bulbs. Store dahlias, cannas, caladiums, callas, and other tender bulbs in peat moss in a cool, frost-free spot for the winter.
LATE AUTUMN CHECKLIST
Get bulbs in the ground. Plant your favorite bulbs now for colorful springtime blooms.
Force bulbs indoors for winter color. Bulbs such as narcissus and hyacinth work well.
Feed your lawn. Don’t let your lawn go into winter without the nutrients it needs to battle the long sleep.
Bring tender container plants indoors. Remove dead foliage and break up any hardened soil before hauling your cherished tropical plants (such as mandevilla, passionflower, and citrus) indoors for the winter.
Test Garden Tip: Keep an eye out for pests, too. Before bringing plants indoors, spray them, if necessary, to keep aphids, mealybugs, or other harmful insects out of your house.
Empty hoses, fountains, and drip-irrigation systems. Ensure any standing water is removed from your watering
equipment; store items in a dry place.
Clean up the veggie bed. Remove weeds and debris so pests won’t make your garden their winter home.
Dig up annuals. Spent and dead, your summer annuals can now nourish the compost heap.
Protect cold-sensitive plants. Shrubs, roses, and perennials that might succumb to blasts of cold should be protected with mulch or another protective covering. Place these frost barriers after the first freeze.
SOURCE: Better Homes and Gardens; BHG.com