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NOVEMBER Plant Care Checklist

Create new planting areas by sheet mulching over weed patches or unwanted lawn. Photo: Courtesy UC Regents
Create new planting areas by sheet mulching over weed patches or unwanted lawn. Photo: Courtesy UC Regents

Maintenance and prevention

  • Mulch bare soil to hold in moisture, keep out weeds, and prevent compaction by hard rains.
  • Clean up the garden before the rains begin. Remove leaves and debris from under and around plants.
  • Create new planting areas by sheet mulching over weed patches or unwanted lawn.
  • Turn off irrigation system for the season; continue to water plants under overhangs.
  • Protect sensitive plants from cold injury when frost is predicted. Water the garden if it hasn’t rained recently. (Do not water succulents if frost is in the forecast.)
  • Clean and store any unused pots and containers that can be used as hiding places by overwintering insects, slugs, and spiders.
  • Clean garden tools. Disease microorganisms also overwinter on the surface of stakes, tomato cages, trellises, and other garden equipment. Remove all soil from the tools, and clean them with a 10% bleach solution or other disinfectant to protect tools from spreading diseases. Apply a light layer of oil to prevent rusting if you will not be using them for a while. Wash garden gloves.

Planting and propagating

  • Plant shrubs, perennials, and trees. Fall is for planting! Winter rains will help develop a strong root system. 
  • Plant spring blooming bulbs.
  • Plant California natives. Late fall, just as the rains start, is the best time for planting natives and scattering seeds of annual wildflowers.
  • Dig, divide, and replant overgrown perennials for more profuse blooms next spring.
  • Plant bulbs for spring color, including daffodils, crocus, freesia and hyacinths.
  • Remove all but one fat bud from each camellia stem for larger blooms.

Cutting and pruning

  • Lightly prune Japanese maples while still in leaf. Select and plant maples for fall color.
  • Do not prune evergreen trees during fall, since wound closure is 20% slower.
  • Remove dead, broken, or diseased limbs from trees and shrubs.

Pests and weeds

  • Do not compost debris from fuchsias, roses, and the camellia/rhododendron/azalea family, as they can spread a variety of fungi and molds and allow undesirable insects to overwinter.
  • Manage rainy season weeds before they flower using non-chemical methods such as cultivation, hand weeding, or mowing. Use toxic chemicals only as a last resort.

Edibles

  • Plant garlic, shallots, and peas.
  • Learn more about crops to plant in November and other activities in the edible garden.

Fire-smart Landscaping

  • Create adequate spacing of trees and shrubs in your garden to minimize the transmission of fire from one plant to another and ultimately to your house.
  • Learn more about Fire-smart Landscaping.