Northern & Central Midwest
Take Care of Broadleaf Weeds
Broadleaf weed killers are more effective now than in spring, so spray to kill dandelions, creeping Charlie, clover, violets, and all the other offenders. Spot treat instead of broadcast spraying for safer control. Use a non-toxic spray, such as one made from vinegar or ammonium salts of fatty acids.
This is a good time to divide perennials. Simply lift an entire plant, cut it into halves or thirds, and replace one piece in the original spot. Move the others around or trade with friends to increase the varieties in your garden. Water the plants in well, cut back the foliage to 4 to 6 inches, and apply mulch.
Add Fall Color With Chrysanthemums
Use mums to fill in holes left by frost-killed annuals. Either plant them or set them in pots. If planted, give them plenty of room and water for the fall, and then cut them back and mound with extra soil for the winter. Mums grown in pots should be discarded.
Plant Bulbs Early
Although bulbs can be planted through November, getting them in the ground now gives them plenty of time to establish healthy root systems before winter. Tulips are the exception; the soil should be cool (below 60 degrees) when you stick them in the ground. Be sure to water well and mulch when planting. Dig and divide established clumps of daffodils to keep them thriving and blooming.
Harvest Winter Squash Before Frost
Pumpkins, winter squash, and gourds to be stored should be harvested before the first frost. To prevent fungal disease, be careful not to nick the rinds. Wash them with soap and water, dry well, and move into cool storage for winter. Pumpkins will continue to ripen after being placed in storage.