Northern & Central Midwest
Core aerate your lawn in fall. This is a great way to alleviate thatch, loosen compacted soil, and improve drainage. Make sure to use or have a landscape company use a core aerator that removes plugs of soil and sod. The aerators that simply punch holes actually compact the soil further.
Plant Cool-Season Flowers
Plant cool-season favorites such as pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale, chrysanthemums, and asters. Asters and mums purchased in bloom this month are usually greenhouse-grown and not necessarily hardy. To increase their chances of making it through the winter, plant them immediately into garden beds so they can establish roots for four to six weeks before frost.
Continue to water evergreens until the ground freezes hard. Evergreens continue to lose moisture through their needles throughout winter and must have adequate water in their root zones to avoid winter burn or desiccated needles. Make sure they receive an inch a week through rain and irrigation.
Start a Compost Pile
The end of the gardening season and the height of the food processing season is a great time to start a compost pile. Layer kitchen and garden waste, dried fallen leaves, soil, and a little moisture. As annuals and perennials die back next month, shred them and add them to the pile.
Clean Up Vegetable Garden
As each crop in the garden vegetable garden finishes, be sure to pull the spent plants and add them to the compost pile. Cleaning up as you go will make the end of the year tasks not quite so overwhelming. Anything with disease should be sent to your city compost facility.