November Gardening Tips


Planning:

  • Have soil tested at a local cooperative extension service to determine pH and nutritional levels

Chores and Maintenance:

  • Continue to thoroughly water trees, shrubs, lawn areas and planting beds until ground freezes
  • Complete removal of fallen leaves and debris to protect from overwintering of insects and disease organisms
  • Cut back perennials to 4-5", but leave ornamental grasses to provide winter interest until spring
  • Mulch boxwood and broad-leaved evergreens before ground freezes
  • Mulch flower beds to keep soil temperature stable and prevent winter injury from frost heaving
  • Provide burlap windbreaks for boxwood and broad-leaved evergreens. Install stakes before ground freezes
  • Protect trees from mouse damage with wire mesh trunk guards
  • Protect shrubs from deer with burlap or netting
  • Mow lawn one final time to a height of 1½-2"
  • Aerate soil around rose roots and hill up the earth 10-12" around the crown after a heavy frost
  • Continue to feed birds

Planting:

  • Continue to plant deciduous trees and shrubs until the ground freezes
  • Complete planting spring-flowering bulbs
  • Propagate deciduous shrubs such as hydrangea, viburnum and weigela; and evergreens such as ilex, juniperus, and taxus
  • Pot hardy spring bulbs for indoor forcing

Pruning/Fertilizing:

  • Fertilize trees and shrubs before the ground freezes so that food is available to plants in early spring
  • Incorporate lime and fertilizer in the annual and vegetable gardens for next growing season
  • Complete pruning of late-blooming trees and shrubs
  • Prune early spring-flowering shrubs only to remove diseased or damaged branches to preserve buds

Indoors:

  • Give houseplants as much light as possible as lower light days begin
  • Continue to let up on fertilizing indoor plants until spring
  • Provide houseplants with increased humidity; mist often or place plants over a tray of moist pebbles
  • Pot up prepared bulbs for indoor forcing
  • Begin to increase the time between waterings but do not cut back on the amount of water

* These gardening tips are applicable for the southeastern New York region - USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6a and 6b which include New York City, northern New Jersey, Rockland county, Westchester county, southern Connecticut and parts of Long Island. Plant hardiness zones refer to geographic areas where the growing season of plants is determined by the time of killing frosts in the spring and fall. If you live in a more southerly plant hardiness zone, you can start gardening earlier in the season or in more northerly zones, you can start later. Even within zones, climatic factors such as altitude, proximity to water, wind exposure, winter sun exposure and snow cover contribute to the existence of different "microclimates" and can influence plant adaptability.

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