Clean Fruit Trees
Sanitation goes a long way toward better fruit tree health. Old fruit can harbor pests and diseases that could infect your tree next year, so remove all fruit from the tree. Rake up leaves and fallen fruit for the same reason, and make sure to remove all pruning debris promptly, too.
Save Your Soil
Bare garden soil erodes so easily in wind and rain. Prevent erosion by mulching your ornamental and vegetable garden beds over the winter. Use ornamental mulch, such as shredded bark; utilitarian mulch, such as straw; or simply layer on some chopped leaves. The mulch provides organic matter and can be worked into the soil next spring.
Caring for Ponds in Fall
Clear out all the leaves, twigs, and other seasonal debris. If you did not put netting over your pond, you will need to skim it and gently rake the bottom clean as well. For better water quality, also remove the faded foliage from lilies and other plants. Stop feeding the fish now, too.
Leave Seed Heads for Birds
If you opt to leave decorative perennials, such as purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, and ornamental grasses, standing for the winter with their seed heads intact, the wild birds will thank you. On the other hand, trimming them back now will save you time in the spring.
Leftover granular fertilizers should be labeled and stored in a dry location over the winter. Mice and other rodents just love to eat fertilizer so store it in a rodent-proof container, especially if it is kept in a garage or garden shed. Also make sure it is kept safely away from children and pets.