Winter is coming. November is an important month to anyone with a green thumb. It’s the time to do some last-minute landscaping before the temperature drops. Depending on where you are in the country, gardening in November can involve a variety of chores. For instance, Southerners can take the time to plant fruit trees, while Northerners can prepare their plants for wintry weather.
Wherever you are in the United States, fall gardening gets your plants ready to go to “sleep” during the winter. If you don’t tend to your plants, you’ll be filled with regret in the springtime.
This article will list the tasks you need to do prior to the cold season. We’ll discuss the chores by region (e.g. Pacific Coast, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, etc.) and share general tips on garden maintenance.
The Importance of Preparing Your Garden for Winter
“We don’t have snow. Why do I still need to prepare my garden?” Regardless of where you are from, winter months come with cooler temperatures that your current plants aren’t accustomed to. Part of residential property management is preparing your plants for the winter. This ensures that their health doesn’t suffer throughout the season. Plus, having a “well-prepared” garden can save you time and energy when springtime comes.
General Checklist for Fall Gardening
Before diving into the chores you need to do based on your geographic location, let’s look at what you should do in general.
#1 Remove the Leaves
A carpet of leaves can create the perfect setting for a fall postcard. However, it’s no good for the grass. When leaves pile up, they will prevent sunlight from reaching the plants underneath. So, when the leaves begin to fall, blow them away as fast as possible. By doing this, you can be certain that your grass doesn’t die, and that you don’t have to spend time reseeding come springtime.
#2 Trim the Lawn
Don’t stow your lawnmower in the storage shed. Grass will continue to grow until the temperature drops to 50°F during the day. Depending on your location, you’ll have to continue cutting the grass until the end of November or early December. Don’t leave the lawn too tall as this can cause snow mold. Don’t cut too short, either, as this can impact the lawn’s capacity to withstand the wintry weather.
#3 Aerate or Loosen the Soil
Aeration is the process of pulling small patches of soil to loosen it. As part of property maintenance, it should be done once a month. Doing this dislodges the soil that has clumped or solidified on the surface. If you don’t aerate, the soil won’t be able to absorb nutrients and water. In other words, the soil needs to breathe.
#4 Fertilize the Grass
Give the grass a “boost” by helping it bounce back in the spring. To do this, you’ll need to add fertilizer. Ideally, you should fertilize the soil after aerating as this helps the fertilizer reach the roots. Fertilizer gives the grass sufficient plant sugars to protect itself from freezing. You should consider conducting a soil test to determine how much potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous it needs.
#5 Water the Plants
Don’t stop watering. Although the weather is getting cooler, you shouldn’t give up on watering your plants. Nature will bring the rain, but it won’t be enough to keep the grass hydrated and healthy. As a rule of thumb, the grass should get at least one inch of water each week. If you have a sprinkler system, don’t disconnect it until two weeks before the first “fall freeze”.
#6 Add Mulch
Mulching prevents the soil from suffering from the “shock” of colder climates. A generous layer of mulch can regulate the temperature in the ground, helping it ease into the season. Additionally, adding mulch can protect your crop in case you have vegetables left in your fall harvest.
#7 Plant Cover Crops
Planting cover crops has several advantages. First, it prevents soil erosion. Second, it adds nutrients that the soil can use to draw carbon from the atmosphere. Third, it stops weeds from sprouting, which means that you’ll have less to worry about in the spring. Professional gardeners recommend planting cover crops before the cold weather comes. If there are fall crops in your garden, plant the cover crops along the rows. Some examples of cover crops include winter rye, hairy vetch, and crimson clover.
Regional Checklist for Fall Gardening
For this section, we’ll focus on the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States. Here’s what you can do to help your South Florida home survive the cool season.
Temperatures can drop in November. For instance, in Santa Fe, it can get as cold as 25°F! Areas such as Arizona will be warmer, reaching as high as 76°F in November. However, wherever you are in the southwest, there will be little to no rain. While you won’t have to worry about snow, you still need to protect your plants.
- Plant vegetables that are suited for the cool season, such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, and leek.
- Adjust the irrigation system so as not to over-water your plants. Your plants will need less water as the weather cools.
If you’re from South Florida, you can anticipate a rainy November, with temperatures reaching 64°F to 45°F. Here’s how you can help your garden stay healthy.
- Plant perennials. You don’t have to stop growing your garden in November. Continue planting tulips, agaves, and more.
- Apply barriers to your trees to deter cankerworms or inchworms. Similar to a caterpillar, this worm can climb up the tree and munch on its leaves.
- Add row covers in case of frost.
As you can see, there’s a lot to do before the temperature drops in December. If you’re finding the checklist too hard to handle yourself, you can always count on Luxury Property Care. As a top-rated property management company, we’re the helping hands that will protect your entire property. Our property managers will see to it that your home is safe and sound throughout the season.