There are many things that can be done in and around your garden during the month of November.  Now is a great time for final plantings and winter prep, especially while the weather is so pleasant.  Read on for a list of garden tasks that can help you prepare for winter and ensure your spring garden is bursting with color.


Yes you can still plant in November!  Trees and shrubs can be planted up until the ground freezes.  We have shrubs, like the Fothergilla major ‘Blue Shadow’ (Blue Shadow Fothergilla) that are showing beautiful fall color right now (pictured above) and gorgeous Cornus sericea ‘Baileyi’ (Bailey’s Red Twig Dogwood) that add great contrast against a snow covered garden with its vibrant red branches.  Evergreens, like the soft, silvery-gray foliage of the Juniperus virginiana ‘Blue Mountain’ (Blue Mountain Juniper) with its blue berries, provide year-round interest.

The warm ground and cooler air temperature are perfect conditions for planting perennials and bulbs too.  Joannie, one of our perennial experts, suggests digging a hole larger than your new perennials and adding a few spring bulbs to the hole along with them.  The bulbs will appear in spring and by the time they die back, your perennials will have emerged to cover the empty space.

With any new planting, it’s best to prep the soil with our Garden Compost Mix and BioTone Starter Fertilizer.  Since these plants have been in their nursery pots for some time, many of them have a very tight root ball.  Make sure to tease, or even score the roots apart to help them spread out in their new space.  All new plantings need regular watering through November.  For instructions on proper watering, check out our watering guide.

The Vegetable Garden

November is a time for preparing the vegetable garden for winter.  If you planted carrots, beets and other root vegetables in early fall, now is the time to harvest those crops before the ground freezes. If you’re putting your vegetable garden to sleep for the winter, it’s best to pull out all remaining plants to prevent disease and pests from overwintering in your garden.  Add some of our Garden Compost Mix so the nutrients can soak into the soil.  Top the bed off with a layer of leaves or straw to help prevent erosion, weeds and nutrient leaching from rain and snow.

Lettuce and Kale

If you want to get even more food from your garden, November is a good time to start using season extenders, such as a hoop house, row cover or cold frame.  These tools will provide protection for your cool season crops like lettuce, spinach, arugula, swiss chard and kale so you can harvest fresh greens all winter long.

If you haven’t planted your garlic yet, now is the time to get them in the ground as well. For small gardens, Sandy, one of our veggie garden experts, suggests planting them in empty corners or along the border of your vegetable garden where you plan to plant tomatoes next spring as they are good companion plants.  If you’ve never planted garlic, check out our step-by-step guide to get you started.


Our cold winters can be harsh on new plantings so it’s important to take certain steps to protect them over the winter.  Using the leaves from your yard is the best way to help protect many of your plants and they add nutrients to your soil.  No more raking and bagging your leaves to the curb.  Use your leaves as mulch for your planting beds, chop them up with your mower to enrich your lawn, or use them to start your own compost.

Winter Rose Protection

By November you should stop fertilizing, deadheading and pruning all plants as new growth will not have time to harden off before winter.  DO NOT cover roses with Styrofoam cones.  This can cause disease from poor air circulation.  For grafted roses, add 10″ of our Garden Compost Mix, leaf mulch or mulch directly on top of the roses and hold in place with a collar of chicken wire after the ground has frozen, usually after a few hard frosts. This not only provides protection from the cold but adds nutrients to the soil.

Young trees benefit from having their trunks wrapped to protect from winter cracks and animal damage.  Avoid using dark colored wraps as it can attract and trap heat that can damage the tree bark.  Using a light or white colored wrap will reflect the heat.  Wraps are only to be used for winter protection and should be removed in early spring.

Pump-cculent Supplies

For new evergreens, rhododendrons and boxwoods or established greens that are exposed to severe drying winds, we suggesting using Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop for added protection. While these plants have a natural ability to survive the winter, our dry fall has made it difficult to build up enough moisture to thrive. Made with natural pine oil, it provides a protective coating without interfering with plant growth.

Have more questions? Give us a call or email us. We’re happy to help!

Naperville: 630-355-4000 and Aurora: 630-820-8088. Email: