November Things to Do in the Garden

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Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of Transylvania County NC

With the cool weather arriving, you’d think there wouldn’t be much to do in the garden. Things are slowing down, that is certain, but there are still some things to do before full-on winter is here. Taking care of most of the items listed will make your spring garden prep so much easier and your plants and lawn more attractive and healthy. And don’t forget this is a very productive way to get some fresh air and exercise.


  • Submit your soil samples by early November at the latest to avoid the cost and the long wait for results on samples submitted after Thanksgiving. Soil Sampling
  • Lime according to soil test recommendations in all gardens and lawns if not done already.
  • Fertilize fescue lawns with one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 ft2 if no soil sample was submitted. Lawn Information
  • Spread your wood ashes around the vegetable garden, bulb beds, and around non-acid-loving plants if soil pH is below 6.0. The maximum amount to incorporate per year is 20 gallons/1000 ft2.
  • Feed established beds of daffodils with bulb booster 9-9-6 and a half cup of Epsom salts per 10 ft2 of bed.
  • Do not fertilize plants other than winter growing house plants, bulbs, and cool-season lawns.

PlantFlower bulbs and toolsing


  • Cut asparagus foliage to the ground after being killed by frost.
  • Cut back and clean up frost-killed perennials unless they have attractive seed heads that you and the birds will enjoy through the winter. Fall cleanup
  • Use sharp pruners when cutting holiday greenery. Make cuts above a bud or side branch. Pruning woody ornamentals
  • Lightly prune broadleaf and needle-type evergreens during the dormant season. Hold off on severe pruning until late February or March.


  • Water your cuttings in the cold frame as needed.
  • Air layer house plants such as dieffenbachia and dumb cane.
  • Finish dividing perennials.

Lawn Care Lawn Information

  • Mow your cool-season lawn to maintain a height of 2.5–3 inches.
  • Keep tree leaves from collecting on your lawn; use a leaf blower on newly seeded lawns.
  • Fertilize fescue lawns with one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 ft2 if no soil sample report.

Miscellaneous To Do

  • If weather conditions have been dry, water evergreen trees and shrubs thoroughly before winter.
  • Apply broadleaf herbicide to control annual winter weeds.
  • Protect plants from prevailing cold winds; consider a windscreen of burlap for tender plants.
  • Continue filling the compost bin with the fallen leaves. Leaves chopped up with the lawnmower will decompose much quicker in the compost or in the garden beds. Composting
  • Cover your compost piles to prevent rain from leaching nutrients.
  • Keep mulch away from tree trunks to prevent rodent damage. Place wire or hardware cloth collars around trunks at ground level on highly susceptible plants.
  • Prepare a spot for planting early spring crops, cover with a mulch of chopped leaves to prevent erosion.
  • Cover greens and cold crops with a row cover or cold frame to protect from hard freeze.
  • Keep water gardens free of leaves and run the pump to keep the water from freezing over completely.
  • Winterize the lawnmower and gas-powered equipment by draining all gasoline and oil, replacing the oil, cleaning the air filter, and checking/replacing the spark plug.
  • Wipe shears and loppers with a rag dipped in paint thinner to remove sticky resins. Sharpen and oil thoroughly.
  • Do not leave garden hoses attached to outdoor faucets; drain and store them out of the weather.
  • Bring in ceramic pots, birdbaths, and rain gauges that may break when water freezes.
  • Feed and water the wild birds.

House Plant Care Houseplants

  • Fertilize only winter growing house plants such as cyclamen.
  • Begin forcing paperwhite Narcissus. Forcing bulbs
  • Poinsettias should be placed in the sunniest room in the house.
  • Re-pot your dormant amaryllis bulbs, bring them into the warmth of a south-facing window, and begin watering. Forcing amaryllis

Plants with flowers or colorful berries in November:

Witch Hazel, Washington Hawthorn, Dogwood Trees, American Beautyberry, Burford Holly, Chinese Holly, Foster Holly, Nellie R. Stevens Holly, American Holly, Nandina, Pyracantha