Fall is time for raking leaves and composting them, but irrigation season is over so turn your landscape controller to off and save precious water. Also time to take down any battery operated electronic garden water controllers so they don’t freeze and break. For the vegetable garden, do a cleanup of unused irrigation drip lines; weeds and debris go on the compost pile and of course keep after those winter weeds. If you let mallow go until spring, it is a backbreaker to get out. Dahlias stalks are usually cut back after frost or you can wait until spring which helps keep water out of the hollow stems that can cause rot.
Now is a good time to dig gladiolus bulbs and store them where they won’t freeze. Gladiolus bulbs can be left in the ground overwinter, but after two years become crowded and bloom less. Fall is a good time to establish new perennials. They will have a rainy season to get roots well established before next summer.Visiting nurseries is always a pleasant outing and if you visit now and order your bare root trees, you might get a discount for ordering early.
If you have frost sensitive plants in containers, like Hibiscus, Plumeria, Begonias or others, you should put them inside a greenhouse, garage or other place that is protected from frost or hard freeze conditions. If you have some plants in the ground you may be able to protect them with covers for frost, but maybe not a hard freeze. Some non-hardy plants that I love, like Mandevillea and Lantana, I treat as annuals and purchase them again next spring.
Don’t prune fruit or landscape trees in the fall unless it is to remove dead or broken tree limbs, which can be removed anytime. It is best to wait until January for dormant pruning of fruit trees and roses. Don’t prune climbing roses until after they bloom next spring. Citrus should await the end of cold weather before pruning in March or April. Citrus usually needs little pruning except for outliers to make the tree compact and keep it in bounds. After winter, any dead or freeze damaged limbs will be evident and can be removed then.
Pruning back herbaceous perennials should await the end of winter when warmer weather is here. Fall pruning of perennials makes for less freeze protection and they can be more easily damaged or killed. Fall is a good time to take stock of your garden tools. A coat of linseed oil on wooden handles will keep the wood in better condition. Also remove rust from tools and coat with some non-motor oil like canola, or linseed oil. Sharpen your pruning shears or buy new ones for the upcoming season of pruning. Soon catalogues will be coming for next year and you can relax by the fireside with a glass of vino and fantasize about beautiful dahlias or vegetables to plant next year. Gardening is a joy—most of the time.