Prevent frost cracking or sunscald on trunks by wrapping trunks with tree wrap. Thin barked trees such as maples and many fruit trees are especially susceptible.
Take a walk through your garden during the fall season. Take time to reflect on the successes and failures of your garden this year. Make notes in your gardening notebook for new things to try and problems to solve next spring.
Check guide wires around newly planted trees to be sure a protectant such as rubber or cloth still covers the supporting wires or ropes so they will not damage the trunks in windy weather. Twelve months after planting, wires can be removed in most cases.
Inspect trees and shrubs for bagworm cocoons and the silvery egg masses of tent caterpillars. Remove and destroy them to reduce next year's pest population.
Continue to tidy up perennial plants. Remove any diseased foliage around plants that may provide disease inoculum for next year.
After several killing frosts have occurred this fall, cut back dormant perennials to about 3 inches above ground. Consider leaving some seed heads for wildlife and attractive stems for winter interest.
Check moisture level in soil around evergreens before winter weather begins. Dry soils can lead to winter injury or death of shrubs.
Compost fallen leaves; they are an inexpensive source of organic matter. Alternatively, leaves can be used as mulch for perennial beds. If they are left on the lawn, they will need to be shredded using a mower. For more information on composting, see MU Extension Guide g6956 Making and Using Compost https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/pub/pdf/agguides/hort/g06956.pdf.
This is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs if they are available and as long as the ground is not frozen.
Early November is a good time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Do not mulch the bulbs until the ground is frozen.
Break crust on the surface of any mulch you have around fruits, shrubs, and perennials to improve the absorption of water from fall rains.
Fall tilling can be done except in erosion-prone areas or where winter cover crops have been planted. This is a great time to add organic matter such as compost and help improve soil structure.
Rhubarb plants that are 4 years old can be divided and transplanted. A site prepared by deep digging and incorporating compost will pay off with a good yield in upcoming years.
To help prevent insects or diseases from over-wintering in the vegetable garden, remove and compost all plant debris. Remove anything insects might hide under.
Remove all cages and wires from the garden. Spray with 10% bleach to sanitize especially if disease was an issue in the garden this year.
Dispose of fallen, spoiled or mummified fruit from under trees.
Mulch strawberries for winter with a layer of straw. This should be done after several nights near 20 degrees. Straw should be sifted loosely over the plants, just enough to cover them from view. After a few week of settling, add additional straw where necessary. For more information, see MU Guide g6135 Strawberries https://extensiondata.missouri.edu/pub/pdf/agguides/hort/g06135.pdf.
Diseased or problematic limbs on fruit trees may be marked with spray paint now for identification during pruning later in the dormant season.
Place tree guards on trunks of trees to prevent rodent damage during the winter months.
Houseplants that are dropping leaves may need more light. Move plants closer to windows or to sunnier exposures, such as west and south facing windows.
Continue dark treatment for poinsettias by keeping them in complete darkness from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. until color starts to show. For more information, see MU Guide g6511 Care of Flowering Potted Plants https://extension2.missouri.edu/g6511.
As fall progresses, houseplants won't require as much water as they did in the summer months.
Keep an eye on houseplants for pests such as spider mites aphids, mealy bugs and scale.
Be sure turf goes into winter with moist – not wet – soil. In most years, you will not need to irrigate.
Recondition lawn mower. Store mower with clean oil and empty fuel tank.
Use soluble fertilizer or calcium chloride instead of salt for melting winter ice around turfgrass or landscape plants.
Clean and oil all garden hand tools before storing for winter. All power equipment should be winterized by running equipment out of gas or by adding fuel stabilizer before storage. Consider changing the oil, replacing air filters and sharpening blades.
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