Perennials: Prune back chrysanthemums as soon as they finish blooming. Finish cutting down all perennials except those with interesting seed heads, which can be left for winter interest — and for hungry birds. Rake up and destroy fallen leaves under rose bushes to reduce the carryover of insect and disease problems. Prepare to mound up soil to 10 to 12 inches around the base of hybrid teas after the ground has cooled completely. If rambling rose canes are waving in the wind, tie them together, but do not prune. Continue planting bulbs.
Flowers: If frost has blackened foliage, dig and store dahlias and other tender tubers. Leave vines like moonflower and love-in-a-mist for their seed pods and capsules that will cling all winter and provide winter appeal. Store dried and cleaned seed collected in late summer in small glass jars or film canisters. Label and store in a cool dark place.
Vegetables and fruits: Continue harvesting apples as they ripen. Clean up leaves under crabapples to prevent disease next year. Protect trees from deer antler attack, which can severely damage branches and trunks. Use wire fencing or posts placed close together.
Trees and shrubs: After the leaves have fallen from the deciduous trees, they can be fertilized. The food taken up by the roots will be available in the spring. Continue planting deciduous trees. Rake up pine needles and oak leaves and keep in plastic bags to use for mulch later when the ground is thoroughly cold or frozen.
Lawns: Keep mowing if the grass is growing. Run mower over fallen leaves and collect for compost. Have fertilizer on hand for use in late November.
Houseplants: Leaf drop is a common reaction to the reduced light levels of and dry, heated air of indoors. Keep the humidity levels high by resting pots on damp stones.
General: Enjoy the last of the color before the gray days come. Make note of the trees and shrubs holding on to color the latest.