Enjoy cooler weather to plant bulbs, prepare for winter

Published 6:33 pm Thursday, November 3, 2011

The fast-approaching winter might seem like a turn-off from getting out in the yard and garden, but the cooler days can be a welcomed change from the sweltering sun and warm temps from the summer and early fall.

Additionally, there are still plenty of things that can be done in and around the garden during November.

Right now, it’s the prime bulb-planting season for the area, and tulips, narcissus, hyacinths, snowdrops, crocus and other bulbs can be planted.

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Most of these varieties could use an area that gets at least six hours of sun and has soil that drains well. The bulbs would benefit from a little fertilizer as well.

Also, many of the bulbs come back bigger and better each year.

This is also a great month to transplant trees, shrubs and perennials.

When moving plants from one spot in the garden to another, be sure to get as much of the root ball as possible and ensure it doesn’t fall apart.

To keep the plant out of the ground for as short a period of time possible, have the new hole dug already.

Transplants should be watered well, and root stimulator can be applied.

While transplanting, you should consider adding some new trees, shrubs and perennials.

Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials should get a good layer of mulch, and the roots need protection from the cold weather.

However, hold off planting varieties that prefer warmer climates until spring.

Camellia sasanquas are a good option for having color in your yard while other plants are going dormant. Now is a great time to pick them because they are in full bloom, and it’s easy to pick the right colors.

As for any annuals that are done, they can be composted. Also, brown perennials can be cut back at this time.

Roses could use a light pruning this month, but any heavy pruning should be saved until late winter.

Getting ready for the cold season also means storing gardening tools, such as unused ceramic pots. If moisture gets into the pots and freezes, it can shorten the life of the pots.

This rule goes for birdbaths, too. It’s better to keep ceramic birdbaths empty if temperatures are expected to drop.

Lawns can also use a little bit of T.L.C. This month, fescue lawns can get another application of lawn food if it’s been at least six weeks since the last feeding.

Additionally, be sure fallen leaves are raked from newly seeded lawns to ensure new grass isn’t smothered.