November Gardening Activities - Region 5

Gardening Tips for November

Rocky Mountain and California Mountain Gardens

Learn2Grow Region 5 Map

States in the region:

Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, California (Mountains)

Key Issues for November

  • Keep your plants well-watered going into late fall and winter, paying close attention to any that have been recently planted. Plants that face winter dryness are prone to damage and dieback during the cooler months. The trick is to water deeply and less often in order to establish self-sufficient plants. (Otherwise the more you water, the shallower plant roots will be.) Adding a layer of mulch around the base of your plants also helps retain moisture.
  • Check your trees for bagworm capsules. If you find any, remove and destroy this pest and its “bags” immediately.
  • Dig, cure and store tender bulbous plants (like dahlias, cannas, gladiolas and elephant ears) after frost has killed the foliage. (Non-hardy bulbs that are left in the ground will turn to mush during winter’s freeze.) Store your tender bulbs in a frost-free location until all danger of frost has passed come spring. (One convenient place to store frost-tender plants is in the crawl space.)
  • Rake the fallen leaves off your lawn – especially if you’ve recently seeded. A layer of leaves left on your turf can easily smother young or mature lawns.
  • Use raked leaves in the garden: Toss them in a compost pile or shred them with the lawn mower to use as mulch on landscape beds and borders.
  • Resist the urge to give extra care to your houseplants. You don’t need to fertilize them until February, and any repotting can wait until spring.
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths (and more) in your beds and borders. (As long as the ground isn’t frozen, there’s still time!) Remember, plant now in fall, to enjoy these blooming beauties in spring!
  • Make your own compost and create some “black gold” for your garden next year – it’s easy! Garden debris (like spent annuals and vegetables) and fallen leaves make suitable additions to the compost pile.
  • Consider buying a compost keeper for the kitchen. (Or add it to your holiday wish list.) Some food scraps you’d otherwise throw away can be used to make compost.
  • Add winter squash to your Thanksgiving Day menu. Butternut and acorn squash are traditional holiday foods – and they’re good for you! Roasted squash is an easy and delicious way to get more of this healthful veggie into your family’s diet.
  • Force paperwhite bulbs for holiday enjoyment. Blooming paperwhites are known for their intoxicating fragrance, especially during the winter holidays. If you’d like to enjoy them (or give them as gifts) in December, now’s the time to get started!
  • Plant some amaryllis bulbs in containers every two weeks from now through early winter for a continual indoor bloom display that can last until spring. Prized for its incredible trumpetlike flowers, amaryllis is easy to grow (and enjoy)!
  • Leave the seed heads on some of your perennials as a natural winter food source for birds, and clean and fill bird feeders. Once you start feeding the birds, don’t stop until natural food becomes available for them again next spring. (Providing a source of fresh water is always desirable for our feathered friends, too!)
  • Help prepare your roses for winter. Mound loose soil over the bud union and lower canes, then mulch heavily with straw. Cover the mound with burlap and tie it into place to help with winter wind protection.
  • Feed the birds the fun way: Make a pinecone bird feeder with the kids and grandchildren! Just roll pinecones in peanut butter and birdseed. Hang the finished ornaments with rustic twine or ribbon in shrubs and trees near windows and seating areas for quiet observation and enjoyment.
  • Winterize your planting beds and get a head start on eliminating potential garden pests and problems next spring: Do a thorough cleanup of your beds now, taking care of any remaining annuals and vegetables in the garden. Any debris that’s infested with insects or plagued by fungi should be thrown away – not composted. Remember, good sanitation goes a long way in the garden!
  • Winterize your lawn mower, too, after the final cut of the season. Any repairs, sharpening or blade replacements should be done in late fall or winter, so you and your mower are ready when active lawn growth resumes in spring.
  • Check all your irrigation equipment. Shut down the sprinkler system for the season. After the final deep watering of your plants, drain any garden hoses and store them in the garage, basement or shed. Make note of any hoses that need repair, and work on them over winter, so you’re good to grow come spring!
  • Clean your gardening tools. Outdoor fall chores are winding down. When you’re finished for the season, make sure your digging equipment is properly cleaned and stored. (This will save you time and money come spring!)
  • Remove any mummified fruits from trees, and rake up those that have fallen to the ground. Leaving them where they are might set the disease triangle into motion, causing disease and insect damage over the 2014 gardening season.