The dark nights, colder temperatures and stronger winds begin to arrive in November but there are still several jobs that can be done in the garden this month.
- Protect outdoor container plants by raising them off the ground using bricks or special ‘pot feet’ available at the nursery.
- Insulate outside pots by wrapping them in bubble wrap or hessian and tying with garden twine or wire.
- Continue to lift Dahlias, Begonias and Gladiolus corms, cover them in bark and store in a cool, dark location. Don’t forget to remove all dead foliage and as much soil as you can from around the roots.
- It is your last opportunity to get spring flowering bulbs into the ground but an ideal time to plant tulip bulbs.
- Roses can suffer from wind-rock through the winter, when stronger winds shake the roots loose. To prevent this, prune your bush and shrub roses to one third of their height.
- Spreading manure on your beds and borders at this time of year will allow it to rot down over winter, improving the structure of your soil and its nutrient content.
- Reuse spent compost from containers as mulch on your beds.
- Remove fallen leaves from around plants with blackspot, rust or signs of other fungal infection. This will prevent spores spreading and exacerbating any existing problems.
- Collecting healthy leaves and allowing them to rot down will produce leaf-mould which is an excellent mulch for your beds and borders. You can use all plant leaves and conifer needles but oak, beech and hornbeam break down quickly and easily, producing a good quality mulch in a year. It is also a good idea to place conifer needles on a separate pile as these create acidic leaf-mould which is especially good for ericaceous plants such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Japanese Maples and Pieris.
- Now is a good time to construct new raised borders in your garden and to think about any changes to future designs.
- In the vegetable garden there is still time to plant autumn onions and garlic; improve the soil by adding organic material before planting.
- Divide existing, large rhubarb crowns when the plant has become fully dormant.
- November is a good time to plant bare-rooted fruit trees. If you cannot plant the tree immediately then heel the roots in soil or bark, firm them in and water to prevent the roots from drying out.
- Pruning of apple and pear trees can be carried out now but delay pruning plum and cherry trees through the winter as this will make the trees more susceptible to silver leaf fungus.
- Prevent wingless, female moths from climbing fruit trees and laying eggs in the branches by applying grease bands to the tree trunks.
- There is still time to aerate your lawn: use a garden fork to create small holes in your lawn. This will allow greater absorption of air, water and essential nutrients into the soil, making them more available to your lawn roots.
- It is also the ideal time to give evergreen hedges a final trim.
(Blog post written by Jo Chamberlain)