LET’S TALK GARDENING – November Gardening Chores



October was a warm month and a little dry, unfortunately. Thank goodness for the rain that we got the last week of October. A lot of planting was done in October. So, the key to successful planting is to be sure to keep all newly planted plants watered well. What I mean by well is to do some slow, deep, soaking watering at least a couple of times a week. I am writing this blog for the last couple of days of October and so far, no frost. I looked at my soil thermometer and our soil is reading 63 degrees. For some of us, we have yet to see any 30 degree nights. Many of us still have summer-blooming annuals still in bloom and performing.

Frost is caused by radiational cooling. This occurs on a calm and clear night when heat from the earth radiates upward into a cloudless sky. As a result, there is a cooling of the soil and plant surfaces as well as a layer of air near the ground. If the temperature drops below 32F, a frost occurs. On a windy night, there is a mixing of the warm upper air with the cool lower air and frost is less likely.


  • Yes, summer-blooming annuals are still active. BUT—it is time to make the sacrifice and switch out the annuals for the cool season/ winter flowers such as pansies, violas, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage, etc. You’ll need to give these plants time to develop a larger root system before our really cold days set in.
  • Don’t forget about our birds. There are fewer insects this time of year so birds need our assistance in providing food by setting up birdfeeders.
  • If not done so already, there is still time to dig up and divide perennials.
  • Now that it is November, this is a good time to add a fresh layer of mulch around our shrubs and trees. Keep in mind not to build up mulch against the trunk of the plants.
  • GRASS-CYCLING – Instead of bagging leaves this fall, consider mowing over the leaves and chopping them up on the lawn. Chopped leaves break down quickly into organic matter. Your lawn will love you more with this idea.
  • Mother Nature is delivering us free mulch with all the pine needles now falling. Take advantage of this wonderful bounty. Pine needles make great mulch.
  • Spring-blooming bulbs, such as daffodils, crocus, and hyacinths can be planted now. Tulip bulbs like our soil to be cooler before being planted. Usually, wait until after Thanksgiving to plant the tulip bulbs. And, remember that tulip bulbs need to be planted no less than 10” deep into the soil.

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


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2 thoughts on “LET’S TALK GARDENING – November Gardening Chores”

  1. Doug, which white Cornus florida tree do you recommend? I’ve read that Appalachian Joy is resistant to powdery mildew and Appalachian Spring to anthracnose. Which problem is more serious in the Manassas area? Which tree should I plant? Thanks so much! I enjoy your columns.

    • Barbara,
      Good Afternoon.
      All hybrid Cornus florida seem to not be susceptible to anthracnose like our native white dogwoods seem to be. With this said, the Appalachian Snow and Appalachian Joy seems to be great dogwood trees to consider. And, Cherokee Princess is good dogwood that is more resistant to mildew and anthracnose. Doug

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