Perennials: Complete pruning of rambler roses. Plant bare root roses. Continue lifting and dividing iris, lily of the valley and day lilies. Plant peonies until the end of the month. Cut established peonies down to just below ground level and dispose of the foliage.
Annuals: Three ways to winter over geraniums: Keep the potted plants in a sunny window until spring; root cuttings in moist vermiculite or water and then plant in pots.; unpot plants, knock soil off the roots and hang upside down in a cool place, repotting again in the spring.
Vegetables and fruits: Harvest and store potatoes. Lift carefully and spread to dry for a few hours out of direct sun. Store in a cool dry place. Clean up the vegetable garden but only compost disease-free vegetation. A clean vegetable garden is less likely to harbor insects and diseases into next year. Or sow a cover crop which will prevent erosion and add nutrients to the soil. Make a soil test now and add lime if needed. Lime can be added any time. Plan next year’s garden keeping in mind rotating crops.
Trees and shrubs: Prune late flowering trees and shrubs after they are dormant. Spread winter mulches but keep the mulch material away from the trunks. Continue watering newly planted trees and shrubs..
Lawns: Kill actively growing weeds on established lawns. Crabgrass is killed by the first frost, so don’t bother spraying it.
Houseplants: Group houseplants together on a tray on pebbles with water. They will appreciate the higher humidity..
General: Educate yourself and your family about the science findings on the effects of climate change and what we can do to reduce it. If the predictions are true future generations will only enjoy the autumn colors of the sugar maple north of the border in Canada.
— Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester