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November Garden Maintenance Tips

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
November 15, 2017

Submitted by: Brenda Postels
Interim Extension Educator-Horticulture
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns & Benton Counties


November Garden Maintenance Tips
By Brenda Postels, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (11/15/17) — November is the time to finish your yard and garden clean-up and start your holiday decorating.  Both tasks are more pleasant when the weather is a little warmer so try to complete them before the end of the month.  Come next spring, you will be happy that you took the time in the fall to do these. 

  • Rake and compost large leaves from oak and maple trees.  Smaller leaves from ash, honey locust, and birch trees may be chopped with a mulching mower when dry and left on your lawn.
  • Keep mowing your lawn as long as the grass is growing.  Meadow voles and field mice will damage turf and nearby trees and shrubs if they have long grass for food and cover.
  • Drain your hoses and sprinklers and shut off hose faucets before low temperatures arrive.
  • Remove frozen plants from containers and hanging baskets and replace them with evergreen boughs, branches with colorful berries and interesting seed heads from perennials and ornamental grasses.
  • Spread clean straw, marsh hay or oak leaves over tender perennials, newly planted bulbs and strawberries before temperatures drop into the teens but after the soil surface has frozen.
  • Winterize all power tools before storing. Change the oil, sharpen blades, clean air filters and replace spark plugs on all of your gas powered equipment.  You will have a head start on many spring projects if all of your equipment is ready to go.
  • Clean, sharpen and oil hand-tools. Lightly sand wooden handles and treat with a coat of linseed or Tung oil. To disinfect pruning equipment both during use, and at seasons’ end; spray and wipe with Lysol® disinfectant. The active ingredients in Lysol® are less corrosive to metal than a bleach solution and easier on your garden clothes as well.
  • Clean bird feeders, install squirrel guards and stock up on seed and suet.  Birds add color and activity to your yard all winter and often stay in the spring to nest and raise their babies.  If birds don’t appear even though you provide a good selection of food it may because your yard lacks shelter from cold winds and predators.  Consider planting some pine, spruce or fir trees next spring.
  • Wrap the trunks of young trees to protect their tender bark from winter injury.
  • Turn the compost pile and add water if it feels dry.


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