November Gardening Tips

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November is now upon us which means soon our minds may be more on preparing for the holiday season, but there are still things that can be done in the garden this time of year. Below are gardening tips to help prepare your garden for the winter season.

General Gardening Tips

  • It is a good time to get your soil tested for next season. Forms and boxes can be obtained from the Wayne County Extension office. Get your soil samples in before the Thanksgiving holiday! The seasonal $4 per sample fee runs December through March. From April through November, samples are free.


  • Remove fallen leaves from lawns as soon as possible to provide ample sunlight for the lawn. Piles of leaves can become wet blankets that smother your lawn.
  • If you have not already done so, apply a pre-emergence herbicide to your lawn to prevent winter weeds.

Trees, Shrubs, and Flowers

  • November is the time to be planting spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, and tulips.
  • Clean up rose beds. Be sure all diseased leaves are raked up and disposed.
  • Check cypress and other evergreens for bagworms. Remove and destroy bagworm capsules to reduce next year’s pest population.
  • After chrysanthemums have stopped blooming, cut stems back close to the ground and dispose of stems and all dropped and dried leaves and branches.
  • Force paperwhite narcissus bulbs to flower by planting them indoors in shallow pots of pebbles and water so they will be ready as blooming presents in time for Christmas.
  • Bring out the bird feeders and stock them with birdseed for the birds. Remember to provide fresh water for them throughout the winter months.
Bird Feeder

Bring out the bird feeders and stock them with bird seed for the birds during the winter months.

  • Take hardwood cuttings of some shrubs such as hollies, forsythia, viburnum, and quince early this month. Bruise the base of the cutting, dip in a rooting hormone, and plant in a sandy soil mix.

Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs

  • Till your vegetable garden to expose many insect pests to birds and winter cold, reducing the numbers in next year’s garden.
  • A good clean up of fruit trees can reduce future problems. Keep mulches pulled back several inches from the base of trees to prevent bark injury from hungry mice and voles. Pick and clean up fallen, spoiled, or mummified fruits to prevent diseases and insects from overwintering.
  • Order fruit trees, grapevines and blueberries this month for a February or March delivery and planting.
  • Time to trim existing asparagus foliage. Cut to the ground after the foliage is killed by frost.
  • Be sure not to store apples or pears with vegetables. The fruits give off ethylene gas which speeds up the breakdown of vegetables and will cause them to develop off flavors.

 Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension Agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.

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