11.2021 - November Gardening Tips
This month there's lots of changes taking place. Everywhere you look nature is showing off with beautiful autumn tints and colours. Trees, fields, gardens and pavements decorated with leaves of rust, burnt umber and orange. This is one of our favourite months for colour but we suggest making the most of it because it won't be long before these colours fade and give way to crisp leaves, colder mornings and trees that become perfect winter skeletons.
Bring Vulnerable Plants Indoors
If you haven't moved plants that are tender and won't survive the winter yet, then now is the time to do so! Bring vulnerable plants indoors; anything that can't be moved should be provided with winter protection. Mulch, bubble wrap or protect with a winter fleece. We recommend the latter.
Cutting and Pruning
The garden should be well and truly dormant towards the end of this month, so many shrubs and deciduous trees can be pruned or moved to another location if required. Don't over do it with pruning though, it's important to remember that many trees can be pruned mid winter or early spring when the threat of disease has truly gone.
Apples and pears can be pruned anytime between now and early March, this will ensure that there will be a good crop of fruit next season. The aim is to remove congested branches and create a goblet shape out of roughly five to six branches.
Prune deciduous trees.
Hedges that have grown out of proportion can now be cut back and shaped.
Wisteria can now be pruned - prune back side shoots on older branches to about 10cm, just above the bud.
Keep pruning tools sharp and clean and remember to clean them before moving onto the next tree; this will stop the spread of any diseases. Hot soapy water or a tablespoon of bleach in hot water kills most germs. Don't prune when it's wet because damp weather can encourage the growth of microbes. If you wait until the sun is out for a little while, it will dry out and kill mold and bacteria.
Gardening Jobs For This Month
- Improve and condition soil by digging it over with rotted leaves and/or farmyard manure. This will put nutrients back into the soil and replace the goodness that your plants will have used up during the year.
- If the ground is not too wet or frozen then you can still plant, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, roses, deciduous trees, fruit trees, pansies, wallflowers and forget-me-nots. They do need to be in by early November though.
- Remove what's left of your herbaceous plants by cutting them back and disposing of the cuttings into the compost heap.
- Pick ripe apples and pears, harvest marrows, onions and potatoes.
- Sow broad beans and hardy peas, plant garlic cloves, new fruit trees and bushes.
- Take hardwood cuttings from existing fruit bushes.
- Protect shrubs, perennials and evergreens by placing a good 2 inch mulch around the base to protect crowns and roots. You can use wood-chip, straw, bark chippings, crushed shells or well rotted manure, this provides a barrier against the cold weather and helps lock in nutrients; before mulching make sure that the plant is well watered and free of weeds.
- The growth of grass will slow down this month (thankfully!) so it’s unlikely that you will be using the mower, make good use of this time by getting it serviced or the blade sharpened.
- Check structures in the garden, fence posts etc to make sure they will survive the stronger winds that are most likely on the way, if weak, repair or replace. Stake out climbing plants, prune back roses and climbers that sway to protect them from wind rock.
- Bin or burn fallen rose leaves; it’s important not to place them on the compost heap as many of them can be diseased and infected with Black Spot.
- Lift Dahlias by cutting the stem to a few inches above soil level and lifting out the tuber, wash off the soil, leave to dry and dust off with sulphur, cover with a non peat based compost and store in a cool dry place.
- Insulate the greenhouse - If you don’t have a heating system installed or don’t want to spend money on one, then bubble wrap is ideal for insulating the greenhouse from cold weather and drafts; this will ensure that your plants are protected from the cold weather. If you do have a heating system then don't forget to turn it on.
- Beware of heavy frosts this month. Once your greenhouse is ready, either move tender plants inside or keep a supply of fleece or bubble wrap to protect them from freezing conditions during night and even daytime - this is especially important for recently planted hardy annuals.
- Plant bare rooted hedges now that they're dormant.
- Don’t forget there is still an opportunity to plant and brighten your borders, hanging baskets and containers with favorites such as winter heathers, pansies, violas, primroses and cyclamen.