November Gardening Checklist

by Anthonyfamilyinfo@gmail.com

With occasional warm days and cool nights, November can be pleasant for Texas gardening. These are good conditions for plant growth and gardens can do well. There are some November gardening chores to do that are particularly important so that your lawn and garden comes back revived in spring.  

For much of Central Texas, the average first frost and freeze is near the end of November. Preparing the garden for winter weather is on the list. And, there is still planting that can be done. Calendars fill quickly with fall and holiday activities, so be sure to set aside a little time to garden.

What can be planted in November in Texas?

What should I be doing in the garden in November?
 Early in the month plant hardy perennials, shrubs and trees. Why plant in the fall rather than spring?
In warm climates like Texas, fall planting allows a longer period for growth during mild weather. Plant roots still grow because soil temperature stays in the 40-50°F range. Fall planting gives a longer establishment period before the heat of summer. 
  • Before planting, amend soil with a finished compost to add organic matter and increase beneficial microbes. Finished compost has the consistency of coffee grounds. This will pay off in spring.

What plants should be planted in November?

Fall blooming perennials – asters, cigar plant, Firebush, Gregg’s mist flower, hardy chrysanthemum, Mexican mint marigold, Mexican bush sage, Philippine violet and salvias can be planted in fall.   

Plant ornamental grasses if available. They are at their prime in fall. Some exceptional perennial grasses for Texas landscapes are gulf muhly, Lindheimer’s muhly, some pennisetums and switchgrasses.

Plant trees. The first Friday of November is Texas Arbor Day because it is the best time of year to plant trees in the state. Before deciding on what tree to plant, measure the area. Then select a tree with the mature size that fits the space. The most common blunder in home landscapes is planting trees that grow too large for a space and are too close to structures. 

Some trees for Central Texas landscapes by size are:

Large – live oak, Bur oak, Chinquapin oak, bald cypress, Mexican sycamore, pecan                                                   

Medium – Mexican white oak, lacebark elm, eastern red cedar, Carolina laurelcherry

Small – crapemyrtle, Chinese fringetree, redbud, mountain laurel, desert willow

Texas has an exceptional tree resource in the Texas Forest Service. See their comprehensive website

 

What can be planted in a flower garden in November?

Plant spring blooming bulbs in November through December – Spanish bluebells, daffodils, grape hyacinth, narcissus and summer snowflake. If you’re planting hyacinth or tulips, buy pre-chilled bulbs or refrigerate prior to planting for at least 40 days at 45°F. Texas winters are typically not cold enough to meet their chilling requirement for flowering.  

Cool season annuals for winter and spring color may be planted in November – calendula, dianthus or pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansies, petunia, snapdragons, stock, sweet alyssum and violas.

For continued growth and flowering, fertilize annuals with a water-soluble product. A liquid solution at half strength, may be applied every 2 to 3 weeks. 

Refresh containers and fill them with fall ornamentals as they become available.

Although most cool season annual seeds are sown in October, a few can still be planted in early November – larkspur, toadflax, poppies and sweet peas. 

If you want amaryllis for the holidays, be ready to plant the bulbs in containers in early November. It takes 6 to 8 weeks for the bulbs to bloom. 

Transplant and divide perennials

Early in the month, finish dividing and transplanting spring blooming perennials like canna, dayliles, daisies and iris. Mature plantings of ajuga, aspidistra, ferns and liriope can be divided. Be sure to replenish mulch as you add new plants. 

Vegetables and Herbs

Herbs to plant in November for cool season growing are borage, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme.  

What to do in the vegetable garden in November?

There are still a number of vegetables that can be planted in November. Plan to do that very early in the month. Be prepared to protect new, tender plants if a frost or freeze is expected. Frost cloth, cardboard boxes or even buckets may be used as a covering, but not plastic. Remove coverings when temperatures warm up.

Edibles planted in early October are nearing harvest. Watch for pests, especially loopers on cabbage and other greens.

What vegetables can be planted in November?

These are the planting periods for vegetables by seed and *transplant for zone 8b Central Texas. Adjust planting times for your USDA zone. 

  • Week 1, 2, 3 & 4 – *broccoli, beets, Bok choi, *Brussels sprouts, *cabbage, carrots, *cauliflower, *collards, garlic, *kale, *kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, *onion/green bunching, radish, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips

Prune and fertilize - November gardening tasks

Clean and fertilize patio plants and hanging baskets that are brought indoors for winter. Take cuttings of tender annuals like coleus for propagation.  

How to care for houseplants – clean and prepare for winter

  • Remove dead or diseased foliage. 
  • Water and wash off leaves.
  • Inspect for and if needed manage insect pests- mealy bugs, pill bugs, scale, spider mites, white flies

During winter, water indoor plants only when soil is dry. Plants may grow slower in winter, so very little fertilization is needed. On warm days, put plants outdoors on a porch or patio and water well. 

What to prune in November?

Clean out spent sumner annuals and remove damage on perennials. Deadhead repeat blooming roses and keep them evenly moist.

November through January is a good time for tree maintenance in Central Texas. Prune dead limbs and branches from trees that could be broken off in wind during a storm.

Prune dead branches of deciduous trees. Before leaves fall they are easier to locate.

Corrective structural tree pruning may be done when trees are dormant.

Remove mistletoe after deciduous trees drop leaves, when it is easy to see. Use a pole saw to remove clusters. This may not get rid of the mistletoe completely, but removing it reduces reproduction and spread of the seeds.

Fertilize

Fertilize cool season annuals every 2 to 3 weeks to promote flowering.

In fall, plants need compost to enrich the soil and mulch to insulate roots. Give plants a boost with just a shovel or two of compost.

  • Apply some compost on every shrub and perennial.
  • Ensure that mulch is adequate, 2 to 3 inches deep for landscape plants to insulate and protect roots.

Recycle fallen leaves as a natural fertilizer. If possible do not bag them, instead shred leaves with a mulching mower. This practice is good for your landscape and conserves landfill space. Leaves are excellent as a mulch and for composting.

  • Shredded leaves can be left on the lawn to slowly decompose as an organic fertilizer.
  • Also, shredded leaves may be raked into flowerbeds as mulch for shrubs and perennials.
  • Shredded leaves are good for vegetable gardens. Leaves slowly decompose and enrich the soil. 

Lawn

Large patch aka brown patch, a fungal disease may show up in St. Augustine lawns. A fall application of fungicide may be beneficial, according to turf-grass experts.

Prepare your garden for winter

If a freeze is expected, water plants, including containers to insulate roots and reduce cold damage. If rainfall is inadequate, water lawns, shrubs and trees every 14 days.

Set irrigation systems to the off setting and run manually as needed.

Mulch plants – a 3 inch layer insulates and protects plant roots.

Cover cold tender plants with frost cloth during a freeze. Do not use plastic as it can damage foliage. 

Disconnect water hoses and cover hose bibs with an insulating material.

Insect Pests

Fireants may still require management if there has not been a freeze. There are a number of good products to treat mounds. Be sure to read and carefully follow label directions.

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