Thursday, November 10, 2011

FAQ: What garden tasks should I do in November?

Among the most frequently asked questions, "When is the best time to...", is near the top of the list. Here are a few gardening tasks for November organized by region.

Northeast States: Frost is possible. (How about that recent snow storm!) Plant and transplant broadleaf and evergreen trees and shrubs, perennials and ground covers, spring-flowering bulbs until the ground is frozen. Pot up spring bulbs for forcing; keep them in an unheated room or cold-frame for the required time according to species. Finish pruning tasks. The recent heavy snow demonstrated that earlier pruning of weak or susceptible tree limbs could help one avoid later trouble. Fertilize trees and shrubs after they become dormant. Fertilize the lawn with a low-nitrogen fertilizer after frost to encourage root development. Continue to irrigate shrubs and trees until ground freezes. Continue garden cleanup. Compost debris. Apply protective mulch in the garden and around plants to prevent cold damage. Feed house plants. Check house plants regularly for disease and insects; treat as necessary. Clean, lubricate and store hand tools for winter. Prepare gas-powered implements for winter storage. Clean bird baths and install electric heating elements, if appropriate. Clean bird feeders and refill.

Mid-Atlantic States: Same regimen as for Northeast States.

Mid-South States: Same regimen as for Northeast States. Continue lawn maintenance. Plant winter-blooming annuals, if you haven't already.

Lower South and Gulf States: Early frost is possible. Plant winter-blooming annuals, if you haven't already. Continue planting cool-season vegetables. Pinch back any annuals that appear leggy. Continue planting or transplanting trees, shrubs, ground covers, roses, spring and summer blooming perennials, spring blooming bulbs. Lightly prune trees and shrubs, but do not prune spring-blooming trees and shrubs. Remove or prune trees and branches that may be susceptible to storm damage. Continue lawn maintenance. Plant spring-flowering bulbs. Continue to irrigate shrubs and trees as long as weather is above freezing. Wrap your exposed sprinklers in protective foam to prevent damage to pipes and valves. Feed house plants, and inspect them for insects and disease. Clean, lubricate and store hand tools for winter. Prepare gas-powered tools for winter storage. Clean bird baths, bird feeders, and refill.

Plains and Rocky Mountain States: Follow the same regimen as for Northeast States.

Pacific Southwest and Desert States: Frost is possible. Follow regimen for Lower South and Gulf States.

Pacific Northwest States: Frost is possible. Plant and transplant broadleaf and evergreen trees and shrubs, perennials and ground covers. Divide perennials and transplant.  Plant spring-flowering bulbs. Pot up spring-flowering bulbs for forcing. Plant cool-season vegetables. Continue fall cleanup. Compost debris. Fertilize trees and shrubs when dormant. Feed house plants; inspect them for scale and disease.  Clean bird baths, bird feeders, and refill.

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