The Window of Opportunity is Closing in
Now is the time to put together a thoughtful list of what needs to be done before the fall season closes onto the holiday season, and winter escapes.
With large shrubs and trees you can linger on your deadline, especially if they are deciduous. The larger the root ball, the easier it is to sustain moisture with an unexpected hard freeze before your plantings are established. Trees in freezing temperatures, whether evergreen or deciduous go dormant. With no leaves their dormancy is immediate, with an evergreen it is slower. The same plant hormone, Abscisic acid (ABA) will eventually stall the growth storing the energy to survive its dormancy. It is also the reason your plantings need water before shutting down for a long winter.
When planting bulbs it's better to wait until there is a strong probability that the weather will stay cold, otherwise it could trigger early growth. Bulbs are hardy; they will survive if this happens but it's better that they stay underground, developing a good root system. This will enable them to thrive and having been starved of attention provide a thunderous show of bloom come Spring.
Having lived in Pebble Beach in California and Charleston in South Carolina, I would often store my tulip bulbs in the freezer and when the Christmas holidays came convince our sons to help with planting them out.
I personally love this time of the year with all the bones of a garden exposed, the cleanliness a relief to my senses. Here in Connecticut my suggestion is to get your tasks finished up before Thanksgiving. One never knows what the weather will bring, but we can all plan for Spring bringing fresh COLOR and BEAUTY to our landscape.