Perennials: Continue planting bulbs as long as weather permits. Pick the last roses of the season. Hill up soil to cover the rose graft area to prevent winter kill.
Flowers: Replace flowering plants in window boxes and containers with evergreen branches and berries. The containers should be freeze-proof.
Vegetables and fruits: Continue to harvest root vegetables and Brussels sprouts, especially good with Thanksgiving dinner. Remaining rhubarb stalks should be collected and composted. Spread a layer of compost, leaves or hay to prevent the roots from drying out.
Trees and shrubs: Protect shrubs with burlap if they are likely to be damaged by heavy snow. Move containerized shrubs into a protected area if possible.
Lawns: Keep new lawns free of leaves.
Houseplants: Give houseplants as much light as possible. Continue to let up on the fertilizer until spring.
General: Other late fall chores to complete before the holiday distractions: drain and hang hoses and turn off outdoor faucets (but try to keep one available for continuous watering of new shrubs and trees during the winter); clean leaves off roofs and gutters; stack the firewood in a convenient place; buy stakes to mark driveway for the snowplow; fill bird feeders.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester