1. Consider whether you want to make any additions to your garden this fall. In our climate zone, perennials can be planted into the first part of September, giving them a few weeks to get established. Trees and shrubs can be planted until mid-October when the ground freezes.
2. Clean up any dead plant material in your yard. Voles, diseases and fungus thrive in a habitat of decaying materials. Raking up leaves and grass helps remove the environment where these pests flourish.
3. Avoid major pruning in the fall. Evergreens should never be pruned in the fall, and deciduous trees should only be thinned after they have dropped their leaves for the year.
4. Cut back perennials. Most perennials will let you know when they have stopped growing and are going dormant for the winter by turning brown. When this happens, you know it is safe to cut their stems to ground level. Spreading a layer of mulch or compost around your perennials helps insulate them and compost insures they will have plenty of nutrients in the spring when the snow melts away.
5. Fertilize your lawn. A high nitrogen fertilizer applied in the fall will be a great benefit to your lawn. Be sure to apply it before your lawn turns brown.
6. Perennials, shrubs and trees all love the insulation of a layer of mulch. Wood chips, weed-free straw and pine boughs all offer protection from sudden temperature changes. Snow is the best insulator of all, so pile it onto your garden when you are shoveling this winter.