is a beautiful, crisp and fragrant month. Itís time to
reflect and give thanks, and also to clean, clear,
protect and store. As we tuck the garden into bed for
winter, here are 30 tips and final chores that need
Itís illegal to apply fertilizer from Nov. 1 through
April 1 in Suffolk. In Nassau, fertilizer is prohibited
between Nov. 15 and April 1. As the ground cools and
freezes, it is unable to absorb fertilizer, and the
excess nitrogen runs off and leaches into groundwater,
endangering our drinking water and public health. Check
your area for similar laws.
For December blooms, place Christmas cactus in a dark
spot at 55-60 degrees for 14 hours nightly and in bright
light for 10 hours daily.
Cut the grass one last time ó shorter than usual to 1
Winterize water gardens and cover koi ponds with
Harvest winter squash after vines die back but before
Itís time to "fall back": Resume standard
time at 2 a.m. by setting clocks back one hour.
Rodents and insects will be seeking shelter soon; fill
cracks and gaps in foundations, crawl spaces and around
windows and doors.
Itís Election Day. "Elect" to adjust your pH
for spring. Apply lime now if indicated by a soil test,
then head for the polls.
If you plan to get a live Christmas tree, dig a hole now
in a spot that will accommodate its mature size. Fill
with leaves and cover with tarp until youíre ready.
Check houseplants for spider mites and scale, and treat
if you find any.
Arborvitaes and upright junipers tend to bow and break
from ice damage; protect now with a loose twine
Raise a flag to honor veterans for their service.
Dump soil from pots and planters onto the compost pile
or into garden holes that need filling.
Clean and stock bird feeders and consider a de-icer for
Clear fallen leaves, fruit and berries from around
roses, fruit trees, lilacs, etc., that showed signs of
disease. Discard debris in the trash so it doesnít
reinfect plants next year.
Cut asparagus all the way to the ground. Mulch with 2
inches of well-rotted manure.
Prepare a bed now so you can plant peas in March.
Inspect for viburnum leaf beetle egg cases after leaves
drop. Remove affected twigs and branches.
Even if your landscaper insists, resist mulching until
the ground is frozen.
As long as temperatures are above 40 degrees, spray
broadleaf evergreens with an antidesiccant to protect
from winter dehydration.
Rake up leaves ó and go ahead, let the kids jump in
them. Then rake again and add to the compost pile.
Hunt for beige blobs on tree trunks, under branches and
patio furniture, pry them off with a sharp knife and
throw them in the trash. Theyíre gypsy moth egg
Drain hoses and store all but one. Youíll need it for
watering evergreens and newly planted trees during dry
Happy Thanksgiving! Work off your holiday dinner with a
fig tree-wrapping session. (Get my detailed video
instructions at newsday.com/gardening101.)
Itís gutter-cleaning time. Do it now, before snow and
ice come along.
Check deer fences for gaps and repair if necessary.
Turn over the vegetable patch to disrupt the life cycle
of pests that are trying to settle in.
Dig up and store cannas, colocasias, dahlias, caladiums
and gladioli after theyíve been blackened by frost.
Sow spinach seeds outdoors and mulch for an early spring
Deadhead flowering houseplants and trim brown foliage.
Dig and pot up chives and parsley, and grow indoors by a
sunny kitchen window for winter use.