It is the period when autumn is passed to the full winter, especially in the northern regions. Sunset comes earlier, rains and fogs are more frequent and the cold begins to be felt, mainly at night and in the morning. For the gardener it is a demanding month, but full of prospects. We prepare the plants for the frost in the coming months, but we can also fantasize about designing the spaces for the coming year.
Cleaning, mulching and fertilizing
These operations can be done in the second half of October or until the end of November (especially in the southern regions and on the coasts). This involves cleaning branches, soil and lawn from fallen leaves. If our garden is healthy we can use them to prepare a thick layer of mulch, especially for the most delicate plants or recently planted.
If, on the other hand, the cryptogams (powdery mildew, scab, rust…) have hit our garden, it is advisable to remove them from it or, if possible, burn them.
It is also the ideal time to improve the fertility of our soil: before proceeding with mulching we distribute in large quantities manure or compost over the entire surface, perhaps adding a percentage of hornbeam to large pieces: rain and frost will contribute to the decomposition. In spring we will incorporate what remains with a slight hoeing.
For acidophils it is useful to combine a little iron sulphate.
Protection of delicate plants
Frost damage depends on our climate zone: let’s be particularly informed about the minimum temperatures that can be reached. In relation to this, we can decide whether to take the most delicate potted plants into the greenhouse or inside or simply cover them with a special sheet (perhaps by placing them next to a warm wall).
A real danger, for those in small containers, is that the earthen bread freezes completely: let’s wrap them in insulating material or prepare a box full of sand and put all the pots in it.
Plants in the ground should be protected from the cold and wind, especially if delicate or young. Let’s prepare a thick mulch all over the foot. Cover as much as possible the canopy with single or double tnt and the trunk with straw or blankets. If necessary, prepare a windbreak.
New installations and design
November is perhaps the best month for new plantings of shrubs and trees. Of course, it is good to start much earlier to choose the subjects to be included: we take into account both local nurseries (usually propose varieties suitable for our territory) and catalogs (to have a wider choice of new introductions). We can work with bare-root plants (cheaper) or with bread from the ground. We open the holes in advance, create a good drainage and add a soil improver.
Bare-root subjects benefit from bulging: let’s leave them in water, soil and manure for a few hours. When the system is complete, let’s irrigate abundantly, put in guardians (if necessary) and mulch.
We can still proceed with the insertion of bulbous spring flowering.
The garden in November: Other operations
Important is the prevention of cryptogams and the elimination of the wintering stages of many phytophages. For the former we recommend at least one treatment with a copper: spray on the trunks, branches and cuts (we will also avoid cancers due to permanent moisture). Many insects and mites survive the winter in the form of eggs in the recesses of the bark: reduce the number by doing a treatment with white oil activated by an insecticide specific for that stage of development.
Let’s get rid of the aerial part of the bright perennials. We take advantage of the latest cleaning pruning to make woody cuttings.
We collect the leaves on the lawn and make one last cut, not too low. Let’s distribute a fertilizer with a good supply of phosphorus: it will help the roots to overcome the winter.
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