November Gardening Tips, Tasks, and Problems


Trees & Shrubs

  • Continue watering trees and shrubs, especially evergreens, until the ground freezes. 
  • Roses should be winterized after a heavy frost. Place a 6-10 in layer of mulch over the plant. Prune sparingly, just enough to shorten overly long canes. Climbing roses should not be pruned at this time.
  • As the ground can be worked, trees and shrubs can be planted. Plant them at the depth they grew in the nursery and no deeper. Remove all wires, ropes, and non-biodegradable materials before back-filling. Add mulch and ensure proper watering until the ground freezes.
  • Apply mulch as a "donut" around trees as opposed to "volcano" mulching which can cause plant damage such as root girdling.
  • Use tree bark protectors and keep mulch pulled away from trunks to protect trees from animal damage.

Annuals & Perennials

  • Remove spent flowers and foliage of perennials if they are damaged by frost. Some plants that should have foliage removed include hostas, daylilies, and irises.
  • If a plant had fungal issues on the foliage, be sure to dispose of the plant material to reduce overwintering fungi. 
  • Tulips can be planted until the ground freezes. Once the ground freezes, apply mulch to spring bulb beds.
  • When mums finish flowering, leave the flowers and foliage intact to protect the crown of the plant and encourage better survival over the winter. Mulching will contribute added protection as well. 
  • Hardy bulbs (daffodils, hyacinth, crocus, muscari) require a chilling period of 10 weeks at 35-45oF. This can be done in the fridge or by planting outdoors.
  • Spring flowering bulbs can be fertilized mid-November through early December (before the ground freezes) as this is when the roots are actively growing. Add in compost or a bulb-specific fertilizer as needed. 


  • Keep leaves raked off of the lawn to prevent smothering the grass and use leaves as a mulch in garden beds. Another option is to mow over the leaves to break them up into small pieces. This prevents smothering the lawn and the lawn will receive fertilizer from the decomposing leaves. 
  • Continue mowing the lawn until the grass stops growing.
  • A final application of fertilizer can be applied to cool-season lawns.

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Till edible garden beds to expose any pests to the winter cold.
  • Harvest pecans when they start to drop from trees. 
  • Add finished compost to garden beds to improve soils.
  • To prevent diseases from overwintering in the garden, clean up and dispose of diseased plant material. Compost all other plant material.
  • Ensure all spoiled, mummified, and fallen fruit is cleaned up. 
  • Mulch strawberries with straw for winter before temperatures drop into the teens. Apply straw loosely but in a thick layer to hide plants from view.


  • Mulch garden beds to prevent injury to plants from frost heaving and to protect plant roots from severe cold temperatures.
  • Now is a good time to collect soil samples to test for pH and nutrient levels. 
  • Clean and winterize yard and garden equipment: roll up and store hoses, shut off outdoor water pipes and valves, and winterize the lawn mower. This is also a good time to clean and oil garden hand tools.
  • For cyclamen to bloom well indoors, they need exposure to cool temperatures in the 50-60 degree range, bright light, evenly moist soils, and regular fertilization.
  • Reduce or eliminate fertilizing of houseplants until spring.
  • Warm weather followed by sudden freezing temperatures can result in damage to plants. Some of this damage won't be evident until the next growing season. 
  • By the end of November or early December, paperwhite narcissus and amaryllis bulbs can be forced indoors. No chilling period is required. Simply pot up the bulbs and water sparingly until growth begins. They should bloom in 4-6 weeks.