The following lawn, landscape and garden suggestions for the month of November are from “Autumn Garden Calendar,” Purdue Extension publication HO-93-W, authored by B. Rosie Lerner. Timing horticultural events and practices can vary from year to year, depending on weather conditions. The following information is intended as a general guide. Adjust activities according to local weather and site conditions, and be sure to read and follow label directions thoroughly on all products.
Indoor Plants and Activities
- Move plants closer to windows or to sunnier exposures, such as west and south facing windows, if plants are dropping many leaves. Artificial lights may be needed to supplement particularly dark rooms.
- Continue dark treatment for poinsettias by keeping them in complete darkness from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. until early December, or until red bracts begin to show.
Woody Ornamental Landscape Plants and Tree Fruits
- Prevent rabbit and rodent feeding damage by erecting physical barriers, such as metal mesh (1/4") hardware cloth. Pull mulch away from the trunk a few inches because the mulch provides a warm winter home for rodents. Chemical repellents are also available, but their effectiveness is temporary and not fool proof.
- Prevent frost cracking (or sunscald) by wrapping trunks with commercial tree wrap or painting the south and southwest facing sides of the trunk with white latex outdoor paint. Young, thin-barked trees such as maples and many fruit trees are especially susceptible.
- Remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches.
- Protect the graft union on rose bushes by mounding soil up 12 inches around the plants and adding mulch on top. Wait until after several killing frosts have occurred so that plants will be dormant when covered. Plants covered too early may be smothered.
- If you are planning to order a “live” Christmas tree, prepare its planting hole before the soil freezes. Mulch the area heavily to prevent freezing, or dig the hole and put the fill in a protected, nonfreezing area, such as a garage or basement.
- Late fall fertilizing can help keep the lawn green longer and boost early spring recovery. Although top growth stops when air temperature drops to 45 to 50˚F, roots remain active as long as soil temperatures remain above 35-40˚F. Apply 1 pound actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
Flowers, Vegetables, and Small fruits
- Have garden soil tested for fertilizer needs every three to five years.
- Fall tilling, except in erosion-prone areas, helps improve soil structure and usually leads to soils warming up and drying faster in the spring, thus allowing crops to be planted earlier.
- Apply winter mulch to strawberries when plants are dormant but before temperatures drop below 20˚F, usually in late November or early December.