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Last updated on October 24th, 2019
Now that November is here, the amount of work you have to do to maintain your garden drops off significantly. Get ready to prune back herbaceous plants and some shrubs heavily, say goodbye to mowing your lawn, and plant things for winter such as pansies and tulips that will flower in spring.
Top jobs for November
- Clear up fallen leaves from your lawn, borders, paths and patio areas
- Clean lawnmower and put away for winter
- Plant Tulips bulbs to provide colour in spring
- Prune roses
- Plant winter bedding and baskets with pansies, violas, miniature conifers, Bellis, ornamental cabbage, wallflowers. See a list if winter bedding here
- Insulate containers to protect roots with fleece, bubble wrap or lagging and lift them off the ground with bricks or pot feet.
- Put grease bands around fruit trees to protect them from winter moth damage
- Feeders birds to help them get through winter.
- Buy and plant bare-root plants such as hedging, roses and trees, it’s often much cheaper than buying potted plants in spring and summer.
- Prune shrubs that need pruning in autumn and have not been pruned yet.
- Lift tubers such as dahlias, begonias and gladioli combs and store over winter if you have not already done so.
- Cut back any yellow herbaceous growth and compost.
At this point in the season you don’t have to mow your lawn anymore unless is especially mild. It should be cold enough that the lawn doesn’t need regular cutting so you can put your lawnmower in the shed. Occasionally you might have to tidy it up and collect the dried material but it’s not necessary. If you are using a petrol mower make sure you drain the fuel before you store your lawnmower as unleaded petrol will not store effectively.
If you are planting tulips, you can plant them now. You won’t avoid the fungal disease known as tulip fire by automatically planting in November but most of the conditions this time of year are perfect for tulips.
When you look for tulip bulbs at local garden centres and nurseries, find them with skins intact and no sign of mould whatsoever. When you plant them, make sure to place them two or three times as deep as the size of the bulb. Sit back and wait for them to explode next year.
Bare root plants
You can save money by ordering your bare root plants in November. Bare root plants are, as the name suggests, plants that are simply not in a container filled with soil. It’s usually cheaper to order bare-root plants especially if you do it by mail order and order online. Most of these plants are only available when they go into their dormant season so you have to be fast about this.
It is best that you plant them as soon as they arrive and then soak them thoroughly so that they have a chance to acclimate. If you are unable to plant them immediately, place them in a container with soil around the roots until you’re ready.
At this point the majority of your work focuses on tidying up your garden in preparation for winter, continuing to make compost if you are doing so, and giving your tender plants some extra protection against winter by bringing them into a greenhouse or conservatory where they can be kept above freezing. You can learn more about heating your greenhouse here.