Drain Sprinkler Systems
Clean debris such as fallen leaves and pine needles from house gutters and downspouts, tossing needles and leaves into the compost pile. Drain sprinkler systems before cold weather arrives, but keep hoses handy just in case a dry spell means you'll need to water. Evergreens especially need moisture all winter to stay alive.
Avoid Red Thread
Help your lawn avoid red thread fungal disease by providing for its nutritional needs this fall and winter. Feed the lawn with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizer, applying it now before fall rains begin. If you haven't applied lime in the past 2 to 3 years, wait a week after fertilizing and apply lime at the rate of about 80 pounds per 1,000 square feet of turfgrass area to maintain the pH between 6 and 6.8.
Store leftover granular fertilizers in a dry, frost-free area over the winter months. Place fertilizer packages in plastic bags and label them well before storing. Liquid materials can degrade, and glass bottles can shatter if left out in a tool shed. Wrap liquid containers in newspaper, place them in a cardboard box, and store them in a safe area of the garage.
Dig Dahlia Tubers
Dahlias should be finished blooming by now. Cut remaining flowers from plants, and then wait for frost to kill the foliage. Cut dead foliage down to the soil line, dig the tubers, and store them for the winter in a cool, dry area in bags of slightly moist peat moss. Tubers can be separated now or left in clusters. I divide mine in spring, after new buds begin to swell.
Harvest Small Fruits
Harvest the last of the grapes and blueberries, and clean up any fallen apples and pears. Bruised fruit should be used right away. If you have a bumper crop of fruits, cook and freeze or can your bounty while it's still at the peak of perfection. Store apples and pears in a cool, airy place, such as a garage or protected porch. Apples, in particular, will last months with proper storage.