Northern & Central Midwest
Choose Your Holiday Tree Early
Buy your holiday tree early while it's still reasonably fresh. Needles should be flexible and healthy green, and few should fall when you shake the tree. When you get it home, make a fresh cut and put it in a bucket of water in the garage until it's time to bring it indoors. Don't forget to check the water daily.
Keep Watering Woodies
Keep watering your woody plants and evergreens until the soil freezes and can no longer accept water. This will keep the plants well hydrated and maintain a healthy root system so they will be better able to tolerate the winter cold and get a healthy start in spring.
Mulch After Several Frosts
Wait to replenish mulch around perennials until you've had a couple of frosts and the soil is beginning to cool, or until the ground is frozen. The purpose of mulch is to keep the ground frozen. Only add about 2 or 3 inches to avoid rotting problems.
Mulch Root Crops
Mulch leeks, beets, carrots, and parsnips with a heavy straw mulch now to keep them from freezing. A straw bale on top works well and is fairly easy to lift so you can dig vegetables in the winter. Otherwise, bring root crops into a cool, damp basement or a refrigerator for the winter. Check frequently and discard any that are rotting.
Time to put away pruning shears. Unless you have necessary pruning because of damaged or broken branches, wait until late winter or early spring just before bud break to resume pruning. Wounds made at this time of year won't heal until spring, and the plant may suffer winter damage.