Fresh Dirt for November


The gentle sounds and breathtaking colors of autumn fill our senses. There is an earthy smell in the air and an exhilarating feeling before the starkness of winter appears. Take it all in. Enjoy the contrasts.


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Last chance and reminders

  • Contemplate and dream. Think about what you might want to add or subtract and make a few notes.
  • It has been a relatively dry summer. Be sure that the ground beneath trees and shrubs is well watered before the ground freezes. This will greatly help in their survival.
  • Cut the lawn for the very last time at a two inch setting. Remove the last of the fallen leaves before the snow. Leaves make excellent compost. All you have to do is put them in a contained area and in one year they will turn to soil.
  • Protect hybrid tea and floribunda roses by mounding soil or compost around their bases. The graft union is here and cannot handle our winter temperatures.
  • Finish planting spring flowering bulbs. If we are hit with an early snow, just brush it aside.
  • Keep an eye on evergreens likely to be damaged by heavy snow and ice. Leland Cypresses and Arborvitae should be shaped at this time of year to protect them from winter damage. Lightly truss with twine to keep them from being bent apart.
  • This is the time to prune most of your shrubbery, but not the spring blooming plants that bloom on old wood like Azaleas and Rhododendrons. Pruning is an art that requires a knowledge of the growing and blooming characteristics of each plant.
  • It is important to protect your smaller evergreens this month from winter grazing by deer. Cover your Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Yews, and Hollies with black plastic netting.
  • November is the best month to plant deciduous trees. Since they have lost their leaves they can be dug without damage. The trees will put out roots during the winter, and be much stronger next year.
  • After the first hard frost dig out your annual bulbs like Dahlias, Cannas and tuberous Begonias. Store by wrapping in burlap and placing in big pots or cardboard boxes. Moisten them occasionally. This will prevent them from drying out completely during the winter.
  • Also after the hard frost pull out your spent annuals and summer vegetables. Cut back any brown stemmed perennials you do not wish to leave for winter interest or that have seedheads which feed birds.
  • Turn off your faucets on the inside and drain the water out by opening the drain valve on the inside. Leave the outside faucet open for the winter.
  • At the end of the month, sand and oil all your garden tools and sharpen your mower blades for next year. Put a few drops of engine protector in the gas tank of any small machine or mower you will not be using during the winter. Then run the machine for a few minutes to work the protectant around the cylinders.

Relish the fall as another interesting cycle of life