Plant identification labels on perennial plants are often lost or the writing fades with time. Take some time to walk around the garden and replace or repair labels. It will help you know where your favorite perennials will pop up next spring. An inexpensive source of labels is an old window blind. Cut slats into 12- to 15-inch lengths and write on them with a weather-proof marker.
Water Broadleaf Evergreens
So far this has been a dry autumn. Roots of boxwood, azaleas, rhododendrons, and hollies need a thorough soaking before the ground freezes. To maintain soil moisture and protect the roots, spread a layer of shredded leaves around the plants. If the plants are in a windy area, protect them with an antidesiccant spray applied when air temperatures are above 40F.
The flavor of parsnips turns better and better as the weather turns colder. These vegetables are hardy and can be left in the ground, but the long roots are difficult to dig when the soil is frozen. To make digging easier, mulch heavily around the plants with at least a 6-inch-deep layer of straw.
Winterize Strawberry Beds
After a few freezes, do your final weeding of strawberry beds, then mulch the beds with a 5-inch-thick layer of straw or pine needles to protect the plants during the winter. Remove the mulch gradually in the spring, leaving some to protect sensitive blossoms from late frosts.
Start Pruning Fruit Trees
Fruit trees can be pruned any time after leaf fall and before buds start to swell in the spring. Choose a gorgeous sunny day to start this task. Pruning objectives include keeping the trees open and free of crossing branches, removing diseased or damaged wood, and maintaining desired height.