November Gardening Checklist
Time for last minute yard chores
What with Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday season looming,
November is a busy month. Garden chores take a backseat as the weather turns
colder and wetter in most areas of the country. There are still a few things
to take care of, especially if you didn't get them done last
- Mowing is probably out of the question now. If you can get a dry day without
rain (let's not even discuss snow) you could mow, but by now your lawn should
be dormant. Fertilize one more time to give your lawn a jump start next spring.
- Rake leaves and use as mulch, or bag and dispose of them. Try to find a
recycler who can use them for mulch instead of sending them to the landfill.
Regardless of disposal method, get them raked up so your lawn can breathe.
Flowers & bulbs
- If you haven't been able to get to it, November may be pushing the envelope
for planting spring
and summer flowering bulbs. If the ground isn't frozen, plant daffodils,
tulips, and lilies. They need a good chill in the ground to come up in the
spring. Mark their location so you don't forget where and what you've planted.
- Chrysanthemums are often left to freeze and die, but if you have one you
really like and want to keep it, set it in a cold frame to winter over. In
temperate climates, a protected area will do. In the spring, divide it for
a pretty fall border.
- Roses need to be pruned thigh high by Thanksgiving when they've gone dormant.
Plan to prune them knee high in February or so. Mulch well, especially in
very cold areas, with a thick layer of aged dairy compost.
- Plant cool weather annuals like pansies now.
Perennials, trees, and shrubs
- Mulch tender perennials and protect any potted plants from punishing temperatures.
Potted perennials that would otherwise weather winter well planted in the
yard, are more susceptible to freezing and dying if not moved to a more protected
- Clean out the garden thoroughly and remove all traces of tomatoes or potatoes
to prevent volunteers that can spread and promote disease.
- Add compost—dairy compost is good—and dig it in to your beds.
In the spring, you'll have nice friable soil that will need very little to
produce healthy plants with plenty of fruit.
- If the ground isn't frozen, you can set out starts of rhubarb, asparagus,
and other perennial vegetables. Cover strawberries and tender perennial herbs
like lemon verbena with a straw mulch to protect them.
- Keep turning the compost. Feed it with the same proportions of brown and
green material, dampen, and turn to keep it cooking all winter.
Yard furniture and tools
- If you've not done so, dry lawn furniture and store it under cover for the
- Sharpen and oil tools, then store in a dry location for the season. Now
is a good time to inventory and assess what you have and plan on additions
if you need them. Write down what you really want and tell your family; you
never know which family member will take pity on you during the holidays.
- Plan to water in areas where winters are relatively dry. Store hoses where
you can quickly hook them up, water, then put away.
- November can be a good time to do a general cleanup around the yard. When
you put away the hose, check its condition. If you need a new one, add it
to your list and discard the old one. Check gutters and clean again if necessary.
- Send the lawnmower out to be sharpened. Drain or use up gasoline.
- Ceramic and terra cotta planters will crack and break if not cleaned and
stored. Protect your investment, especially if you have painstakingly collected
a variety over the years.
- Birds eat bugs and slugs and other creepy crawlies in the yard. Make friends
by adding a bird feeder and a water source. Locate them so birds are protected
from relentless predators like your cat. Make or buy a suet ball to give the
little guys high energy snacks. It takes a while for the birds to find you,
but if you keep it up they will put your yard on their permanent itinerary.
- If you have had problems with rodents, rabbits, and deer in the past, create
a physical barrier to protect your plants and trees so they can't get close
enough to make lunch and dinner out of them.
Trowel and Error : Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener
The Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher: Birdfeeders and Bird Gardens
Perennial All-Stars: The 150 Best Perennials for Great-Looking, Trouble-Free Gardens
If you're short on time and need help with finishing yard work for the season,
a yard service can help. A professional service through ContractorNexus
can get the work done.