Heap Leaves on Veggie Garden
Leaves contain a wide range of plant nutrients. Using them wisely as garden mulch will benefit next year's vegetable crops. Remove dead, diseased veggie plants and weeds from the patch. Heap leaves on debris-free soil. Leaves can be whole or in bits and pieces. Pile them as high as you want. Come spring, till them in where you're planting. Leave the rest to make garden paths.
Lightly Top Lawns with Shredded Leaves
A light toss of shredded leaves on the lawn will decompose through autumn and winter. Microbes will break leaves down into plant nutrients -- nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, micro-nutrients -- that feed the grass.
Do NOT Prune Boxwood, Azalea, Roses Now
Even if your boxwood, azaleas, and roses have some rangy branches, don't cut them back now. Pruning stimulates growth. Shrubs, trees, and perennials are slowing down towards dormancy. New growth after pruning will be susceptible to winter freeze damage.
Remove Whole Leaves from Gardens and Lawns
Raking leaves off growing plants is a necessary autumn chore. Left to overwinter, matted leaves will damage plants underneath. They'll keep out light and hold in moisture. It's okay to leave some leaves in open spots to control weeds and decompose but not on or against plants you want to keep alive.
Clip Pods and Sow Seeds
Clip seedpods and sow seeds of black-eyed Susans, columbine, perennial sunflower, and Verbena bonariensis in various open spots. They'll sprout next spring for transplant or to leave in place.