Yes I know I should have written this a long time ago but I had to go off and get married, then of course go on the honey moon for 3 weeks right in the middle of our peak season. Yes, I am still paying for it and trying to play catch up, but I've got a beautiful and supportive bride, so give me a break; the tradeoff was worth it.
Grass in the Autumn and Winter. . This is the time that the grass is going dormant and from what I learned in school and from years of experience, now is the best time to fertilize due to something called translocation. It is a process where the stored energy in the plant moves (or translocates) from the foliage to the roots, where it stores the energy for the upcoming spring, giving the plant that energy to start back up in the spring. As a rule, the lawns that are greener and healthier in March have been fed the past fall.
For fall time, I like a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in slow release percentages. Fertilizers are basically urea nitrogen coated with plastic. The coating breaks down slowly by moisture content and as it breaks down the fertilizer is released. The higher the slow release percentage the longer the fertilizer lasts. Look for a fall mix like 12-5-15, which is higher in phosphorus because the phosphorus is good for root growth and establishment.
As for your plant materials, mulching is a good idea for any perennials that you will be cutting down for the season -- also any blueberries or fruiting shrubs, helping them on frozen mornings.
Applying a fall fertilization is also a good idea for plants, root feed trees and shrubs. Using a regular shovel, push the shovel in the soil at about the drip zone and apply a small handful of fertilizer into the slice in the ground that the shovel makes. This method is much preferred (and more efficient) over spreading the fertilizer on top of the ground were most of it runs off.
Remember to turn off your watering system and have your back flow device winterized.