November Gardening Activities - Region 4
Gardening Tips for November
Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Gardens
States in the region:
Maryland, Delware, DC, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Texas (Eastern)
Oklahoma (Eastern), Arkansas and Tennessee
Key Issues for November
- Avoid fungal problems in the lawn, like brown patch, which may rear its head this time of year in St. Augustine lawns. If you notice any round, brown, dead patches on your turf, look for rotting grass crowns. Remove dead grass with raking, and dig out actively rotting grass at the edges of the patch.
- Be on the lookout for any remaining fall armyworms in the lawn. Zap them now to break their life cycle.
- Inspect your trees for bagworm capsules. If you find any, remove and destroy this pest and its “bags” immediately.
- Check your trees for tent caterpillar eggs as well. These egg masses are laid in groups that typically encircle smaller twigs. Identifying, removing and destroying them now will help you avoid a caterpillar infestation come spring.
- Keep an eye out in your garden for scale. This plant pest can be sprayed with dormant oil now and again in early spring.
- Wrap up the spring-bulb planting. If you live in the warmer parts of zones 8 and 9, consider purchasing pre-chilled bulbs or placing your bulbs in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting them. If you don’t, flowers might not appear next spring.
- Rake 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.
- 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!
- Prepare your water garden for winter. Lift out hardy waterlilies and plants in submerged pots, and cut off dead leaves. If you believe your pond won’t freeze this winter, the plants can be put back below the water surface. Remove rotting leaves and twigs, so water quality isn’t diminished and fish remain healthy.
- Avoid cutting back all of your frost-killed perennials. Ornamental grasses, coneflowers and black-eyed Susans provide cover and a natural food source for songbirds, and upright stonecrops add visual interest. Marginally hardy perennials and tropicals often overwinter more successfully if their brown tops are not cut off until spring, when new growth appears at the bases.
- 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.
- 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.
- Continue mowing if your lawn is still growing. Recycle clippings back onto the lawn. Contrary to what you might have heard, clippings will not become thatch (a spongy layer found between grass blades and roots).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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).
- 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!)