Rocky Mountain Gardener's November Checklist

The huge autumn gardening push is winding down, and we are starting to look inward now, toward spending more time indoors in cozy warmth. But, there are still some times of beautiful weather to enjoy this month plus a couple more things to do at the garden before putting it to bed for the winter.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Exteriorscapes llc

Winterize pots. Empty all containers of annual flowers and veggies. Remove the dirt, or the top 8 to 10 inches from large pots. Spent dirt and nondiseased foliage may proceed right to the compost pile. I wait until the warmer days of spring to wash my baskets before replanting them.

Find a dry, sheltered place to store your pots to protect them from months of freeze-thaw cycles. My storage area is the rear corner of a covered terrace; a garage or shed would also do the trick. I’ve also had chance leaving large, glazed pots right out from the garden, turned upside down and resting on a couple of scrap 2-by-4s.

Great Oaks Landscape Associates Inc..

Winterize the lawn mower. Proceed to mow your yard — eliminating no more than 1/3 of the blade at a time — as long as the grass is actively growing. Following the previous mowing, then run your mower before the gasoline tank is empty. Wash the mower and sharpen the blades before storing it for the winter.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Wrap trees. Leafless young trees are especially vulnerable to sun scald in late autumn and winter. The low beams of the sun — particularly when they are reflected off snow — may damage the lean, immature bark, stressing the tree and rendering it more susceptible to insect and disease issues (as well as disfiguring it).

Wrapping the back protects immature bark out of sunlight damage until the adult or “corky” bark strains. Make sure you use a product created specifically for this job; they are readily available at garden centers and may be saved and reused repeatedly.

Start at the base of the tree and wrap upward in an overlapping spiral to the next grade of branches. Secure the top. Wrap trees in late November and unwrap in April.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Winterize tools. Well-cared-for tools will be your best gardening partners for years to come.
Wash them with soapy water, with a clean brush or putty knife as necessary to remove all caked-on dirt. Use steel wool to clean off any pieces of rust. Rub metal surfaces with WD-40 or mineral oil. Rub unpainted wooden handles with linseed oil and wipe off any surplus. Sharpen tool blades yourself or have them professionally (many garden centers and hardware stores offer this support). Store garden tools and equipment in a safe, dry place.

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