November Gardening Tips: What To Do In The Garden In November

The days are a little bit cooler and winter is fast approaching. November is a great month to prepare your plants for frosty winter conditions and wrap up some of the gardening tasks that you might have already started back in October.

These tips for gardening in November that will set up your garden for success next season. Read on to learn all about these fall garden tasks and how to best implement them in your yard.

November Pruning: The Bare Minimum

One of the most important November gardening tips is to minimize pruning of shrubs and trees. You can cut back herbaceous perennials, but try not to trim woody plants.

“It is a good idea to leave as much winter cover as possible, which provides insulation and a microclimate to protect plants from the coldest weather, seedheads for birds, and is important cover for insects.”

Down to Earth: Gardening Wisdom, by Monty Don

Dividing Perennials in November

Perennial plants can be cut down to just above soil level so that they will grow back in spring without a soggy mess of last years leaves. You can do this by starting from the middle of the patch and moving outwards. Annual plants can be removed as they will die off anyway.

Another great November gardening tip is to take the time to divide your perennials. Hostas, peonies, and other ornamental plants can be dug up and split to multiply your greenery!

Lift and Store Tender Flower Bulbs

You will need to lift and store tender flowers like begonias, dahlia, and gladiolus. And don’t forget to remove dead foilage while you are at it! Trim off most of the foliage and compost it. Then carefully dig up the tuber roots and let them dry in the sun. Store them in a cool (but not frozen) spot where they can go dormant for winter. Check them every few weeks and remove any that are showing signs of rot.

Plant Garlic

November is the last chance to plant fall garlic in areas where the ground freezes for winter. If you didn’t get around to it in September or October, plant some cloves of garlic now to enjoy a yummy harvest as next summer rolls around.

Mulching for Winter Protection

Fill in exposed and empty patches of soil with compost, mulch, or leaf mold. Shredded leaves work very well around the base of tender plants that need a little extra protection in the winter. Try not to apply the thick winter protective mulch until winter is here to stay. Once the ground freezes, you can mulch all your plants and let them stay that way until the spring thaw occurs.

November Gardening Tips

Try some of these November gardening tips in your yard:

  • Plant trees, shrubs, perennials before the ground freezes
  • Make leaf mold compost
  • Pull out any remaining weeds from garden beds
  • Remove remains of dead annual plants and add to compost
  • Select some plants to leave for overwintering beneficial creatures
  • Store potting soil for wintertime
  • Find and prep spring seed starting supplies
  • Remove rotten fruit from branches and ground below fruit trees
  • Turn the compost if not frozen. can cover to keep heat in
  • Clean gardening tools and sharpen for early spring
  • Clean empty planter pots
  • Mulch flower beds with compost.
  • Shred leaves with the lawnmower or a blower vac
  • Plant any last spring bulbs
  • Harvest frost-sweetened kale
  • Cut back herbaceous perennials. leave some seed heads standing
  • Pruning should be limited to dead/damaged/diseased/dying branches.
  • Pick fall cranberries
  • Leave a few carrots, potatoes, and other veggies in the ground for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Winter spinach should start to be ready. You’ll be able to have spinach salad with Thanksgiving dinner
  • Sharpen and oil garden tools (and add a few to your holiday wish list!).
Long Boxwood stems in a galvanized metal bucket on the front porch for making wreaths
Collect boxwood in late November for creating holiday decor.
Collecting evergreen greenery for the upcoming holidays
Collecting evergreen greenery to share for the upcoming holidays
Collecting thyme to dry it in the kitchen for winter
Drying thyme!
Dead fern foliage in November perennial woodland garden
Dead fern foliage in the woodland garden
Final fall herb harvest
Final fall herb harvest
November gardening gift shopping for holidays
November gardening gift shopping for holidays
Shredding leaves for fall compost
Sunflower head full of seeds in the fall garden
Taking care of gardening tools before putting them away for winter
Taking care of gardening tools before putting them away for winter

Mary Jane

Mary Jane is a home gardener who loves creating healthy, welcoming spaces (indoors and out!) - About Mary Jane (

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