November Gardening Activities - Region 3

Gardening Tips for November

Northeast, Midwest and Central Plains Gardens

Learn2Grow Region 3 Map

States in the region:

Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois,
Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa
South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana

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.
  • Inspect your trees for bagworm capsules. If you find any, remove and destroy this pest and its “bags” immediately.
  • Keep an eye out in your garden for scale, too. This plant pest can be sprayed with dormant oil now and again in early spring.
  • Check all your irrigation equipment and timers to make sure they’re in excellent working order. Perform routine maintenance to ensure efficient operation. Cut turf and branches away from sprinkler heads, check rain cut-off switches, fix any leaks or breaks, and unclog heads. Inspect your drip system or low-flow heads for blockages, algae or other damage as well.
  • Plant hardy spring-flowering bulbs like St. Joseph’s lily and lily of the Nile (and more) in your beds and borders. Remember, plant now in fall to enjoy these blooming beauties in spring!
  • 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 into a compost pile or shred them with the lawn mower to use as mulch on landscape beds and borders.
  • Recycle your grass clippings back on the lawn – don’t bag them. Contrary to what you might have heard, clippings will not become thatch (a spongy layer found between grass blades and roots).
  • 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 next gardening season.
  • 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.
  • 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 cool-season bedding plants to planters, window boxes and borders. Pansies and violas, snapdragons, calendulas and petunias are suitable candidates for adding instant color and interest throughout the months ahead.
  • Take inventory of your property. Are there empty areas that could use a little beautifying? It’s still planting time for trees, shrubs and perennials. Just remember: right plant, right place!
  • 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 cheer. 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).
  • Feed birds the fun way: Make a simple bird feeder with the kids by rolling pinecones in peanut butter and birdseed. Add rustic twine or ribbon, then hang the finished ornaments on shrubs and trees near windows and seating areas for quiet observation and enjoyment.