November Gardening Tips

Wet Leaves-1
Wet leaves (c) JMcCT 2013, all rights reserved

Submitted by New England Nurseries

As the days shorten and the air chills, we enter into November and prepare for the winter season.  We here at New England Nurseries have outlined some tips to help you and your landscape successfully survive another winter.


A few simple steps will help to prevent winter burn and snow damage to evergreens like Rhododendron, Yew, Holly, and Arborvitae.  New plantings are more susceptible to damage, but even well established plantings can be injured by snow, ice and wind.

This fall has been particularly dry, so it’s important to continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.  A few long, deep waterings are preferable to frequent, short waterings.  Mulching around the base of trees and shrubs will also help to prevent moisture loss.  Applying a fertilizer now and once in spring is generally a beneficial feeding schedule.  Prune any dead or damaged branches, as well as any branches that will touch the ground when weighted down with snow or ice.  Also remove any sprouts or suckers at the base of a tree.

Apply an anti-dessicant spray, such as Wilt-Pruf, to help prevent winter burn on broadleaf evergreens.  Wrapping plantings in burlap is another good preventative measure.  Newly planted trees and shrubs are more susceptible to winter burn than well established ones.

Prevent damage from heavy snow and ice by placing wooden A-frames around newly planted shrubs.  Or use manufactured shrub covers to provide protection from winter burn and breakage in one easy step.

Protect trees and shrubs that are susceptible to deer and rodent damage with an animal repellant.  They should be sprayed on, or sprinkled around plantings now, and re-applied after several weeks or after heavy rains or snow.

November also marks the time when male and female winter moths emerge from the ground to mate.  Winter moths infest maple, oak, ash, as well as fruit producers such as apple, crabapple, and blueberry, and can cause serious, if not fatal damage.  After emerging from the ground, wingless females climb the tree trunk to lay their eggs.  One way to interrupt the life cycle of these damaging pests is to apply an adhesive barrier around the base of the trunk, like Tanglefoot.  This natural gum and wax product protects trees from winter moths and other crawling insects such as gypsy moths and ants.

Continue to plant new trees and shrubs as long as the ground remains workable.  Take advantage of end-of-the-season sale pricing (our nursery stock is discounted 30%) and add to your landscape on a budget.  Just remember to water new plantings thoroughly as they establish roots.


As with trees and shrubs, perennials can be planted as long as the ground is workable.  Pick up past bloom and dormant perennials for half-price at New England Nurseries right now.  Grasses and perennials can be cut back now that their foliage is dead.  Some gardeners prefer to leave this job for the spring, so the plant locations are easy to find as snow begins to melt.  Grasses can also provide interest to winter landscapes when left intact.  If cutting back now, cut perennials almost completely, so just a few inches of stem is visible above the soil line.  Grasses can be cut to a height of about 12 to 18 inches above the soil line.  Mulch around perennials to help them retain moisture.  Divide perennials that are taking up too much space, or if the blooming rate has decreased or stopped.

Drain irrigation systems and hoses and take hoses indoors.  Birdbaths can crack with freezing temperatures; birdbath heaters will prevent any potential damage.  Ponds and water features should also remain partially thawed by using a pond heater or bubbler, particularly if fish are to remain in the pond, as this will be essential for their winter survival.

Early to mid November is the time to plant indoor winter bulbs like Paperwhites and Amaryllis to have beautiful blooms in time for December holidays.  Water the potted bulbs thoroughly upon the initial planting, then water sparingly, keeping soil moist but never wet.  Keep potted bulbs in a sunny, warm location, rotating the pot every few days to ensure stems will grow straight.

Spring blooming outdoor bulbs like tulips, daffodils and crocuses can be planted as long as the ground is workable.  Our spring blooming bulbs are currently discounted twenty percent!

Please join us here at New England Nurseries on Saturday, November 23rd for our Annual Holiday Open House.


New England Nurseries, Inc., is a family owned and run business that has been providing Bedford with superior landscape supplies and services at  for over 100 years. The nursery is located at 216 Concord Road (Rte.62W) in Bedford.   Telephone 781-275-2525 or visit

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