Before the first “hard” frost (~25°F)
- Dig up tender bulbs such as dahlias and non-winter-hardy plants for winter storage.
- Bring inside all frost/freeze-tender potted plants, after treating for insect problems.
- Pull-up, shake out and bring to the compost pile all vegetable and herb debris killed by frost and weeds.
- Plant spring flowering bulbs.
- Clean up and level garden beds and mix-in compost for next year.
- Cut back spent perennials. Leave grasses untouched for winter interest and cut back in early spring or, if preferred, cut back now to approximately 6 inches.
- Remove, clean and store away re-usable plant supports and containers.
- Gather and discard leftover labels, plant tie-ups and non-biodegradables.
- Clean tools to prevent rusting over the winter and prolong their useful life.
- Jot down observations from this year to help recall later what you have learned this season to make next year more successful.
- Drain and coil hoses before they freeze. Store in garage, shed or basement.
- Drain exterior faucets.
- Rake leaves off lawns before they mat-down and damage the grass. Shredded leaves can go in the compost pile or can be used as mulch around trees and shrubs.
Now, until the ground freezes:
- Plant or transplant trees and shrubs (and maintain soil moisture!).
- Divide and transplant most perennials, like peonies and daylilies.
- Plant garlic and shallots for next year.
- Assure soil around plants newly installed this year is adequately moist.