November in Iowa can consist of warm fall weather or cold snowy days. Here is a list of what to do in your garden before winter hits!
November Garden Checklist
Fall Clean Up
√ Winterize fountains, pumps, concrete statues, and cover/bring in any delicate glazed pottery.
√ Cut back soft tissue perennials like hosta and daylilies once they die back (yellow/tan foliage). Leave rigid perennials that can add texture to your winter garden, like coneflower and grasses. These types of perennials do best when cut back in the spring.
√ Clean leaves and weeds up in planting beds and in the yard. Thick leaves in the lawn can cause disease problems in the future. Mulching leaves into the yard is fine, but thick amounts of leaves are best raked and removed from the lawn.
√ If you have a vegetable garden, remove all old plants and fruit. This will help prevent disease issues next year. Harvest remaining cold crops this month.
√Avoid pruning spring blooming shrubs (rhododendron, lilacs, forsythia, bridal wreath spirea, etc.)
Planting & Prepping before Winter
√ Now is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Pick them up at Culver's and add early spring color to your landscape.
√Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Trees and shrubs can be planted until the ground freezes. Perennials that are tender (Zone 5 for Eastern Iowa) can be overwintered in a protected location (like a garage or under a deck) and hardy perennials can be planted through the middle of November.
√Clean out old potting mix from containers if you have time this fall. This will help shorten your list to do list for spring.
√Fertilize your lawn with one last application for the year.
√Mulch new plants or anything that does not have mulch around the plant. This will help regulate the temperature of the roots of the plants and allow the plant to thrive next year.
√Look out your window to see what areas you might like to add some fall color. Stop in to add color now or take a photo for planning over the winter/spring.
√Make notes on what worked well in planters and in the landscape. Did you have powdery mildew issues, blight, etc? Jot these down now so you can prevent next year.
√Plan to spray anti-transpirant on broadleaf evergreens like Rhododendron, Boxwood, or anything else you know has experienced winter burn. This is usually recommended in our area during the last two weeks of November. The temperatures should be above freezing to allow the product to dry properly to protect the leaves.
√ If you have houseplants or tropicals that you brought indoors, start monitoring these plants for signs of stress. A shift from outdoors to indoors can cause yellowing of leaves, but you will want to be on the lookout for insects to make sure that is not the cause of the yellow leaves.
√ Prune back any tropicals like hibiscus that you want to overwinter. Make sure these tropicals have plenty of sunlight.
√ Raise the humidity around tender plants, like ferns. With the furnace on, the air can become very dry. Place a tray of rock filled with water at the base of the plant (make sure the water is below the rock level to prevent root rot) or use a humidifier to help with low humidity in the house.