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November Gardening Tips

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Landscaping Tips

  • Most homeowners shut down work in their yard as the days get colder and rainier but there is much to do in your garden this month. You have to capitalize on the few dry short days.
  • It is important to keep the leaves off your lawn as much as possible. Leaves heavily shade the grass causing rapid die back. Sweep or blow them into your beds if you don’t have time to pick them up immediately. Pick them up when they have all fallen if you must wait that long but get them off the lawn!
  • There is still time to get those last bulbs planted. Bulbs need 12 weeks in the cold ground. Dig up and store your gladiolus, dahlias and other summer-blooming bulbs. Some people leave their dahlias in the ground but there is a good chance you may loose them to winter kill. At the very least covers them with mulch or leaves.
  • You can continue to plant and transplant shrubs and trees.
  • Don't put down any bark or top dressings during this time period since your plants are responding to the colder nights and have begun the hardening down process for winter. Putting a blanket of bark around them slows the process and can cause some false warmth signals to the plant. It is time, however, to mulch roses up over the bud union and tie up straggling canes. Let them have several good frosty nights before you do the mulching.
  • Clean up any leaf debris from roses, apples, tomatoes, dogwood, lilac or any other plant that had a leaf fungus this past summer or fall weather it be powdery mildew, black spot, anthracnose, whatever, but don't put the leaves or plants in your compost pile. A number of the fungi that affect these plants over-winter on the leaves and stems.
  • You can cut your roses back to 2-2 1/2 feet but don't prune them back to the one foot level yet; wait until the late February early March time period. You can start to prune soft stem plants like lilies, hostas and peonies but hold off on the woodier plants until toward the end of the month or even December or January.
  • Rmove faded annuals and perennials. If you haven’t replaced your summer annuals with some winter pansies, viola, dusty miller or kale do so early in the month. You can have some beautiful color all winter!
  • Turn off water and drain your hoses. Blow out and winterize your sprinkler system.
  • Prepare the soil if it is sufficiently dry for spring planting. If we do get some dry weather it is important not to let the soil around landscape plants dry out.
  • The last two weeks of November or the first 10 days of December is the ideal time to do the over wintering fertilization of your lawn. This is the most important fertilization of the year! Use a slow-release variety with a nutrient ratio of around a 3-1-2 NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium). Fertilizers containing slow-release components are particularly helpful for the winter application because the nitrogen isn't washed into the ground and away from the roots rapidly by rains. Instead, it moves into the roots slowly and helps turf health throughout the winter.
  • Remember to use natives in your landscape. They are usually drought tolerant and adapted to the soil and pests in this area.

Vegetable Garden

Put up plastic cloches to protect winter lettuce and spinach. Early in the month, bring in the rest of the green tomatoes for house ripening. Cut some chives for potatoes. Hang and fill your bird feeders. Plant garlic early in the month; it will winter over and mature next summer.