Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Here’s Civano Nursery’s collection of November garden tasks to take care of before you’ve finished the last of those turkey leftovers.
What to plant in November:
- This is your last chance of the year to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as amaryllis, anemone, bearded iris, crinum, crocus, daffodil, Dutch iris, freesia, montbretia, and ranunculus
- Daffodils, grape hyacinth, scilla, snowdrops, and tulips can be planted in zone 8 this month.
- Plant cool-season succulents like aloe, dudleya, gasteria, and cold hardy agaves and yuccas
- Plant frost hardy shrubs and native woody shrubs
- Plant cold hardy trees
- water new trees every 2-3 weeks through the winter
- Transplant established perennials, frost hardy shrubs, and native woody shrubs
- Plant annual and perennial wildflower seeds
- Areas with warmer winter temperatures can still plant cold-hardy or native perennials
What NOT to plant in November:
- Wait until spring to plant anything that is sensitive to cold temperatures.
What to Fertilize:
- Fertilize containerized winter-growing succulents once with a low nitrogen water-soluble fertilizer at ½ strength recommended for houseplants
- Fertilize leafy vegetables with a side-dressing of compost or a granular slow-release fertilizer
Prune, Divide, and Conquer:
- Prune Mediterranean herbs if you didn’t do so last month; Bay, Greek oregano, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme
- Cut back canna and dahlia after the first killing frost
- discard the brown leaves to keep insects from overwintering in them
- Texas rangers (Leucophyllum sp.), globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua), and brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) can be pruned this month
- Cut back by 1/3 or more to control the size of the plant
- Cold-hardy deciduous trees can be pruned when they’re dormant. Most should be dormant by the end of the month, but you might want to hold off on pruning until next month to be sure that the timing is right (especially if we’ve had warmer than usual temperatures this month)
- Thin overcrowded winter veggie seedlings
For the Fruit Trees:
- Tangelos, navel oranges, and mandarins will begin to ripen by the end of the month. Begin checking for ripeness 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, and harvest when they’re ready!
- Be ready to protect citrus from killing frosts
- Large Christmas lights (not LED) can be strung in the tree to help heat accumulate under a frost cloth
For the Lawn:
- Overseed dormant lawns with annual or perennial rye.
- Feed 2 weeks later with a product specifically developed for winter lawns
- When the grass gets about 2 inches tall, mow to a height of 1.5 inches
- Continue to reduce watering frequency as plants go dormant
- Water dormant perennials about every 3-4 weeks, established perennials that aren’t dormant should be watered around every 8-10 days
- Water established trees once this month
- Containerized perennials and shrubs may only need water twice this month,
- Containerized cacti and succulents that aren’t active winter growers may need less water than potted perennials or shrubs
- If killing frosts are in the weather forecast, irrigate frost-sensitive plants a day or so before the freeze arrives
- Apply water early in the day when the temperature is above 40° F
- Mulch, mulch, mulch! Add a 4-6 inch layer over the root zone of frost-sensitive plants and trees.
- Use fallen leaves that you’ve raked as mulch, or add them to your compost pile
- Be sure to keep mulch from building up against woody stems or tree trunks
- Be ready to protect frost-tender plants from the freezing temperatures that usually arrive by mid-month
- Move containerized plants to a protected area and group the ones that need to be covered together
- Don’t dispose of ash from your fireplace or fire pit in the garden; our soil pH is already high, and adding ashes will make the problem worse
Sources: University of Arizona online publications, Arizona State University online publications, Desert Botanical Garden website, Tucson Botanical Garden website, Gardening in the Deserts of Arizona by Mary Irish, Arizona Master Gardener Manual