DOUG’S GARDEN BLOG – November Gardening Chores


Let me do a little re-cap as to where we are with the fall planting season: We had a good soaking rain thanks to Zeta last week. The timing for all this rain could not have been more timely. Also, in this general region, we have yet to have a frost let alone a killing frost. We have had some nice warm days and that has kept our soil temperature sitting at 60 degrees here in early November. All these points add up to making early November a great planting time. So, don’t let the calendar control your gardening. Let Mother Nature rule right now and continue enjoying being outside in your gardens and doing some yard work.


As perennials begin to decline for the late fall, now is an excellent time to dig up and divide. Daylillies, hosta, iris, peonies, and other perennials will benefit from being divided. At the time of re-planting be sure to add some ESPOMA BIO-TONE to the hole. The plants will thank you.

Now that it is November, you can safely be planting tulip bulbs. Be sure to plant the bulbs deep in the ground. Tulip bulbs like to stay as cool as possible so that is why I recommend planting them 10” to 12” deep in the ground.

Don’t forget our feathered friends this winter. November is a good month to hang a bird feeder. The decision to feed our wild birds is not a casual one. Without a doubt, it is an investment to keep bird feeders full. With this investment comes plenty of personal rewards and enjoyment.

A nice, sunny day in November is an excellent time to take a walk through your gardens. Take time to reflect on the successes and failures of your gardens this year. Make notes for new things to try and things to fix by next spring.

Use pine needles to mulch around azaleas, rhododendrons, hollies, camellias, and other plants. Mother Nature is delivering this free mulch this month. Years ago I was taught and convinced that pine needles change the pH of the soil. This is not true. Actually, our rain is more of an acidifier than pine needles.


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4 thoughts on “DOUG’S GARDEN BLOG – November Gardening Chores”

  1. Is now the best time to plant Rhododendrons? How to amend the soil and should I use Espoma Biotone to fertirlize it? How deep should I plant it? Thanks for getting back with me.

    • Karole,
      First, thank you for sending me your gardening question.
      And, with a resounding YES – now is a great planting time. We have been experiencing a warm November that has kept our soil temperature at 60 degrees. This soil temperature coupled with all the rain that we have received recently makes planting now about as good as it gets. With planting rhododendrons keep in mind that these plants like a little shade and they need amended soil. So, get some compost to add to your existing soil. Be sure to get a hole that is wider than in depth and plant so that your rhododendron is slightly mounded out of the ground. Having it mounded will also help with proper drainage that rhododendrons require. Lastly, using ESPOMA BIO TONE is the best at the time of planting. Sprinkle Bio Tone in the hole so that it comes into direct contact with the roots of the plant. Doug

  2. As a horticulturist and professional pant pathologist I do read your columns and generally agree with your advise and conclusions.

    However, I take exception to your recommendation to plant tulip bulbs 12 in deep. A 6 inch planting depth is sufficient for bulbs to receive the cold period they require to form the flower buds.. I spent 6 months at the Laboratory for Flower Bulb Research in the Netherlands. They would never make such a recommendation unless the bulbs were being dug up and destroyed by squirrels or other animals.

    • Roger,
      First, thank you for reading my blogs and secondly, thank you for taking the time to share your professional opinion with planting bulbs. I will now have to rethink what I have been taught over the years from professional plant people about planting tulip bulbs in our zone 7 climate. Again, thank you. Doug

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