Here is a list of November Garden Checklist by Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardeners – Compiled by Amanda Steves and Ann Smith
– Be sure your flower beds are mulched to protect from near-freezing temperatures in the coming weeks and months.
– Avoid heavy pruning or fertilizing of plants to prevent stimulating new growth that will be susceptible to cold damage.
– If weeks go by with no rain, give your grass and plants some water.
– Gather old sheets and blankets to have ready for covering tropicals when a cold snap is predicted. If possible, don’t place plastic directly on the plants, touching the leaves—it can result in damage to the leaves.
– If a freeze is predicted, water everything thoroughly, drain the water out of garden hoses, and store them in an easily accessible place.
– This is the best time of year to plant trees and shrubs, with the exception of tropical plants and palms. Most woody landscape plants benefit greatly from going into the ground in early November, because their root systems can develop during the rest of the fall and be ready for spring budding.
– Remember to cut back your tropical milkweed; keep it cut back until February so a parasite of Monarch butterflies can’t accumulate on it.
– There is not much to do with your lawn once November and cooler temperatures hit. The grass generally goes into dormancy and you probably did your last real mowing in October. It is too late for fertilizer and pre-emergents as they would stimulate new growth. If you have winter weeds, all you can really do is pull them.
You can amend lightly with compost, but that is just about all you want to do. It will add a bit of insulation and decompose very slowly over the winter.
– While the weather is still reasonable, it’s a good time to check your sprinkler system or drip irrigation for problems.
– November is a great month for expanding your irrigation system or for adding rainwater harvesting—you can put in a simple rain barrel, a cistern, or a full-blown system with pumps and filters.
– Get your lawn mower blade sharpened.
– Clean your hand tools with a wire brush, sharpen them, and apply a light coat of oil. To clean and protect wood handles, sand them with fine grit sandpaper, rub on boiled linseed oil (not raw), and wipe off after 15-20 minutes.
– This month, you can plant carrots, Swiss chard, collards, garlic, lettuce, mustard, multiplying onion, radish, spinach, and turnips. Get your cool season vegetables, including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale in by November 15.
– Keep harvesting your veggies regularly, or they will stop producing.
– Tomatoes and peppers can be protected with blankets in a light freeze.
– Plant strawberries now for your spring harvest. Here in South Texas, strawberries are annuals. You’ll get a good crop in the spring, but they probably won’t make it through our hot summer.
– This is a great month to plant herbs. Put them in as a living groundcover in your flower beds or set up a special herb garden. They will be happiest with well-drained soil and full sun.
– Good fall herb choices are oregano, pineapple sage, thyme, and chives. Parsley, dill, and fennel are especially loved by the larvae of swallowtail butterflies, and they will also attract many beneficial insects to your yard.
– Bring frost-tender succulents indoors. Many succulents, such as Echeveria, actually bloom during the winter, though some go dormant. Keep taking care of them as usual, but be careful not to overwater as the cold temperatures keep them wetter for longer. Remove dead leaves so they do not rot. Consider filling dead holes with new cuttings.
– You can largely leave your ornamental grasses alone until early spring. If native grasses need a pick-me-up, fluff them with open hands, going in an upward motion to remove dead leaves. This is especially good for muhly grasses.
– Ideal time to plant fruiting and ornamental trees! This includes cold-tolerant citrus such as Satsuma mandarins, kumquat, and tangerines.
– If you have an automatic irrigation system, turn it off. Your grass will only need light watering if there’s no rain for 2-3 weeks, and you should use the manual setting for that.
– Do not allow thick piles of leaves to build up on the lawn—the grass can be seriously damaged this way. Mow over the leaves to chop them up and improve the lawn.
– Keep an eye out for fallen twigs and branches that look like they have been cut or chewed off. Twig girdlers are active now, and they have a habit of chewing all the way around a small tree branch and laying eggs in the separated end of the twig or branch. If you find any of these branches, wrap them up and throw them away to prevent the eggs from hatching and maturing in your yard. Don’t toss them in the compost pile, or you’ll have more girdlers next year.
Thanks to Master Gardener Todd Cutting and Intern Pam Meyer for contributing to this list.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Aransas County Office is located at 892 Airport Road in Rockport. AgriLife Extension education programs serve people of all ages, regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, handicap or national origin.