Top Jobs for November

1. Keep lawns trimmed but not as short as in the summer.

2. Pruning deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can start from now and throughout the dormant season.

3. Prune, stake plants to protect from wind damage

4. Landscaping - Now is a good time to make plans for garden projects while the garden is in its bare bones.

5. Garden hygiene helps prevent diseases carrying-over from one year to the next. Rake up and destroy (i.e. do not compost) any infected or decaying leaves.  



• Conditions on mild days are still ideal for planting: - Later flowering spring bulbs such as Lilies and Tulips - Bare-root or root balled trees, shrubs and Roses - New hedges i.e. Beech, Hawthorn, Privet, Laurel - Dig up and divide established plants which are now overcrowded and re-plant - Pansies, primulas and other winter/ spring bedding plants

• November is a good time to plant new herbaceous perennials while the soil is still warm and moist.

• It is also a good time to lift and divide overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials to improve shape, health and flowers.

• Last chance to plant out winter bedding plants such as wallflowers, Bellis, forget-me-nots, Primula, winter pansies (viola).

• Keep cutting down faded herbaceous perennials and add the cuttings to the compost heap. Penstemons are best left as-is (except for dead-heading) until the spring, when they can be cut back further.

• Ornamental grasses and bamboos can be cut back and tidied up but some have attractive flower heads that will provide some winter interest. These can be pruned in the spring to make way for new growth then.

• Lift and store dahlias, cannas and begonia tubers planted in flower beds after the first frost (dahlias typically turn black when hit by frost). Only in mild areas can dahlias and cannas be left to overwinter in the ground provided they are well covered by soil/mulch/straw etc. Begonias should always be brought in, dried out, and stored in a similar way as dahlias.



 • Harvest and store late varieties of Apples and Pears.

• Plant new fruit trees and bushes once the ground has been dug over and manured.

• Prune Apple and Pear trees. • Once all leaves have dropped apply a "winter wash" to control pests.

• Raspberry Canes are available for planting now. Vegetables • Dig over vacant ground and work in well rotted manure or compost.

Order seeds.

• Protect cauliflower curds by bending a few leaves over the centre.

• If storing vegetables make sure that they are well spaced and dry, and if any are rotting throw them away.

• Leeks and parsnips may be left in the ground until required for use.  



 • Grass will continue to grow in temperatures above 5°C (41°F). Don't cut the grass as short as you would in the summer to avoid damaging the lawn.

• There is still time to apply an autumn lawn food and mosskiller.

• Spike badly drained lawns to improve drainage and if not carried out previously scarify to remove dead grass.

• If conditions permit (not too wet or too cold) turfing can still be carried out.

• Rake fallen leaves off lawns - they will block out the light and stop moisture escaping from the grass – increasing the chance of moss and algae.

• Don’t feed the lawn with left-over summer feeds. These contain too much nitrogen, which stimulates lush growth which will be vulnerable to diseases. Use an autumn lawn feed, which contains more potassium and phosphorous and strengthens the roots.

• It is too late to sow grass seed, but if the weather is not too cold, new lawns can still be laid from turf.  


Greenhouse, Shed and Houseplants

• Water carefully to avoid leaf splash.

• Ventilate when possible to improve air circulation and control humidity.

• Grow plants such as Chrysanthemums, Cyclamen, Azaleas, Poinsettias to provide colour in the house.

• Make sure heating system is working efficiently as it will be required more and more as winter continues.

• Clear out the greenhouse, wash pots and trays, clean, mend and oil your tools and throw away anything that is beyond hope or reasonable repair! Cleaning your greenhouse thoroughly will prevent pests from hibernating and leaping into action next spring. Wash the windows inside and out to allow maximum light in over the winter and scrub benches, fixtures and glazing bars with disinfectant, making sure you hose the whole place down really well, especially dark and dusty corners.

• For really successful pest removal, fumigation is the key. Move all plants outside, shut the windows, light a sulphur candle in the middle of the floor, shut the door and wait until the smoke and fumes have completely dispersed several hours later. Your greenhouse should now be enjoyably pest free!  


Trees, Shrubs, Climbers and Hedges

• Plant bare-rooted trees, shrubs, hedging and roses as well as fruit trees and bushes (see later). Soak the roots in a bucket of water for an hour first and protect against frost and wind if exposed.

• November is an ideal time to plant roses but don't plant them where roses have been planted previously or they may suffer from replant disease.

• Bare-root deciduous hedging plants, trees and shrubs become available this month. They need to be planted quickly so they don't dry out. You can still order and plant containerised trees and shrubs.

• This is also a good time to transplant trees and shrubs growing in unsuitable positions if they are less than 2 years old – otherwise you might not dig up enough roots for it to establish again.

• Tie wall shrubs and climbers to their supports to protect them from wind damage – prune off any growth that refuses to be trained. Check tree stakes and ties to see if they need loosening or tightening.

• Take hardwood cuttings of ornamental shrubs such as Forsythia, Cornus, Hydrangea, Euonymus, Ilex and Salix.

• Pruning deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can start from now and throughout the dormant season. It is easier to see what you are doing when the branches have no leaves. Exceptions are tender plants and - Prunus species (e.g. ornamental cherries, plums and almonds – fruit with a stone). Evergreens are best left until the spring. Take this opportunity to check for any diseases.

• Shrubs such as Buddleja davidii, Cornus alba and Lavatera that are normally pruned hard in the spring - can be cut back by half now to prevent wind rock and keep them tidy.

• If not already done so, Climbing roses should be pruned now at the very latest.

• Lightly prune bush roses as reducing their height will prevent wind damage as they often have shallow roots.  


Soil, mulching and weed control

• For beds that lie bare in winter, carry on with the winter digging until the soil is too hard, use as much organic matter as you can get your hands on to replace the goodness in it. It can be left in a pretty rough state over the winter when the elements will break the clods down, making spring planting infinitely easier!

• For text book soil improvement, you should add a layer of organic matter and dig it in by turning over spadefuls so it is buried below the surface. If this seems too much like hard work, just mulch the bed and leave the rest to the worms! If your soil is thin or heavy clay, just fork it over now; too much digging on the former will bring up infertile matter from below whilst great chunks of wet clay will remain rock solid over the winter and become nigh on impossible to break up next year.

• Weeds may still appear so hoe regularly to keep them in check.



• Stop feeding fish once the cold weather starts.

• Remove dead foliage from floating plants.

• Regularly shake off leaves from nets over ponds to prevent them from building up and rake out fallen leaves from ponds that do not have a net.

• You can still divide hardy water-lilies and pond plants to increase your stocks and keep them under control. - A maximum of 50% of the water’s surface should be taken up with planting.

• Remove submersed pumps etc and clean them so that they can be stored safely for the winter.

• Watch out for hungry herons - they will deplete fish stocks quickly.


Plants which are at their best in November

Thuja 'Rheingold'

Skimmia japonica 'Rubella'

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'

Viburnum tinus and varieties

Cornus (Dogwood)

Ilex aquifolium (Holly)

Cortaderia selloana (Pampas Grass)

Jasminum nudiflorum (Winter Jasmine)

Mahonia (early flowering varieties)

Aucuba japonica (Spotted Laurel)