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November Gardening Tips

Gardening Information

Plant tulips, daffodils, crocus, and other bulbs. If you want to dig fewer holes, "layer" bulbs. Plant the bigger bulbs at the proper depth, add soil, and plant smaller bulbs on top of them, again, at the proper depth.

Plant a few bulbs in pots for forcing. Paperwhites, hyacinths, and early blooming tulips and daffodils are good choices.

Empty and sterilize, with a 1:9 mixture of bleach and water, terra cotta and ceramic pots and store in a protected area, such as garage, shed, or basement to prevent cracking.

Open sprinkler valves and drain water from sprinkler systems to prevent freezing.

Drain and store hoses.

Collect dried seedpods, grass stalks, seedheads, and other dried plant materials for use in making flower or plant arrangements.

Buy birdseed and fill bird feeders. Consider purchasing a heater for your birdbath; water is often more important than food during winter.

Wrap tall arborvitae, junipers, yews, and other evergreen shrubs with burlap or twine to prevent breakage from snow load. If deer are a problem, wrap bird netting around the plant to prevent winter browsing.

Wrap the trunks of young, thin-barked trees with paper or plastic tree wrap late in the month to prevent sunscald and rodent damage.

Clean, repair, and properly store tools and garden implements so they will be ready for use in the spring. Apply a thin coat of machine oil on steel implements to protect them from rust.

Drain gas from lawnmowers, weed-eaters, edgers, and other gas-powered equipment prior to storage.

Start a compost pile with fall garden debris.

Remove and dispose of any diseased leaves or other plant material. If left on the ground, disease spores survive in the debris over the winter and will resurface next year. Do not place diseased plant material in your compost pile.

Turn vegetable garden soil. Turning soil exposes many insect pests to winter cold, reducing their numbers in next year's garden. Consider planting a "green manure" crop, such as winter rye, to help improve the organic matter in your soil.

Remember to water any newly-planted trees and shrubs until the ground freezes. Evergreens, in particular, are more sensitive to drying out since they continue to lose moisture from their leaves or needles all winter long. Without adequate water in the ground before a hard freeze, extra stress is put on evergreens through the winter. Whenever the temperature is above freezing, water your evergreens.

Add mulch (up to three inches, total) around trees, shrubs, and perennials AFTER the ground is frozen. Adding mulch after the ground freezes keeps the soil temperature from fluctuating, helping to prevent plants from heaving out of the ground.