Horticulture Tips for November

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Well, we’ve made it to November without a real frost or freeze, meaning our first one this year will officially be later than average. Enjoy the remaining color in the garden and count each day a bonus. Beyond that, consider the following landscape tasks this month:
  • November is a good time to make a nitrogen application for cool-season turfgrasses such as tall fescue. Actively growing tall fescue may need mowing as often as every 3-4 days under ideal conditions.
  • Speaking of tall fescue, one of the significant contributors to its decline is the build-up of excess leaves. While it is not necessary to remove leaves as soon as they land on the turf, it is important to prevent them from completely blocking all light, water and air movement. One of the easiest ways to dispose of excess leaves is to continue mowing and chop them into small pieces where they will easily decompose directly into the turf, providing nutrients as they go. At some point, you may still need to collect the excess, but the quantity will be much smaller and easier to manage. Well-chopped leaves also provide a nice head start to the composting process, with smaller pieces decomposing much quicker.
  • Leaving plants in the garden tends to harbor pests and disease so clean up any remaining plant residue as soon as possible.
  • This is also a good time to clean up some select ornamentals. The key word here is “some”. Perennials that are a bit cold sensitive should be left alone until next spring. Pruning them now (even though they appear dormant) can set them up for winter injury. Also, plants such as ornamental grasses put on their best show in the winter, making them good candidates for spring cleanup.
  • Don’t forget to winterize your tools and equipment. Putting tools away clean and sharp (with a light coating of oil) will pay dividends in the spring. Adding fuel stabilizer to small engines is also another important garden task that will pay big dividends come springtime.
  • November is also a great time of year to walk the landscape and makes notes about changes you would like to make for next season.

For more information on this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at
keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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