November Lawn and Garden Tips
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Tree & Shrub Planting
Fall is the ideal time for planting evergreens, conifers and deciduous plants.
The cool weather and warm soil encourages establishment of a root system
before next year’s hot weather. October, November and December are
better, but you may plant up through January and early February and this
year that goes double due to our lack of rain. If several shrubs are to be
planted, rototill the entire bed area adding an organic amendment such as
compost or very small pine bark to improve drainage. Peat moss should
never be used in clay soil. If planting a single tree or shrub it is wise not to
amend the planting hole as you can cause it to act like a “bathtub” holding
water and killing the plant.
B&B or Bareroot Transplanting Trees & Shrubs
November through early February is the ideal time to transplant trees and
shrubs from one place on your property to another. In selecting sites, be
certain to allow space for the plant at maturity. A common mistake is placing a
large or fast-growing plant where there is not enough room for full height and
spread. The error results in continuous pruning to attempt to keep the plant
within a size that nature never intended it to be. When transplanting, you can
either attempt to dig a root ball with the soil attached or plant the tree or shrub
bare root. Bare root generally works best for small plants and the root ball
method of digging is better for large specimens. Once the plant is in place
make sure to keep the root ball moist and also wet the leaves several times
per day to help prevent dry winds from desiccating the plant.
Fire ants tend to do “mound work” in the fall. This is the time you will see
mounds popping up from the ground or getting bigger. These ants have been
there the whole time, they are just doing a little home expansion. Treating a
few mounds is easy to do with a little liquid Carbaryl (Sevin). It will take 1
gallon of mixed solution poured directly on the mound to kill it. After
application, the mound will be dead but you will need to rake down the
unsightly hill of soil. For large areas that need treatment, baits are the best
course of action and they can be applied in a granular form. Organic control
can be had from pouring boiling water on a mound although this can be very
hazardous to you you and your lawn! Spinosad is another organic control
that can be used typically as a bait.
The November fertilization of your lawn is not one to forget. This is especially
true this year due to the dry weather. Wait until it rains to apply your fertilizer. The soil is still warm enough to permit the root growth that enables the grass
to withstand the rigors of winter and next summer’s baking heat. Conducting
a soil test is best but in the absence of a soil test, apply 6 lbs. of 17-17-17 per
1000sf of lawn. The middle number is phosphorus which can be hazardous
to the environment when applied to the top of the ground, so only apply it
when if you are able to use a lawn core aerator prior to application. If it is not
needed you can apply 3 pounds of 34-0-0 per 1000 sf of lawn or 2 pounds of
46-0-0 to get the same result. There are also specific lawn fertilizers that
contain no phosphorus. Every 3 years add a total of 50 lbs of dolomitic lime
per 1000 sf to maintain pH at the proper level.
If you have a Bermuda lawn you can make it lush in the winter by
overseeding it with a perennial rye grass mixture at 7-10 pounds per 1000
sqft. This will provide the best looking winter lawn but may leave extra work
in the spring to remove the grass. For an easier transition you can us a Turf-
type annual ryegrass. This is not your standard field rye grass. It will grow
lower and require less mowing making it more user friendly for overseeding
Plant spring flowering bulbs using a bulb fertilizer or one rounded tablespoon of 10-10-10 per square foot, incorporated at the root level. You can also utilize
compost or many natural fertilizes such as bone meal, blood meal or manure.
Pruning should not be done until the first frost. If you prune early you may get
regrowth from the plant that can easily be killed by frost. Although you can
prune in fall, late February pruning is best due to potential ice damage during
the winter that can ruin your work.