Garden Planner – 1111


Atlanta’s November weather can be unpredictable; warm and sunny one week, cold and rainy the next. Atlanta’s first frost is usually in mid-November, so enjoy the last of the warm season annuals early in the month!   November’s cooler weather makes this the best time of year to plant shrubs, trees and many perennials.

Garden Maintenance

• Watch the weather report. If rain isn’t in the forecast, regularly water newly planted trees, shrubs, lawn areas and planting beds. Make sure to turn off and winterize your irrigation system this month too.
• Perennials can be cut to 4-5 inches, but leave ornamental grasses to provide winter interest until spring.
•  Hate to add bags of yard waste to the landfill? Make your own compost. Use grass clippings, fall leaves and kitchen waste to create your own nutrient-rich soil amendments. Your county extension agent has plenty of information to get you started.
• Remove the leaves and debris that fall from perennials and deciduous shrubs and trees so that insects and disease can’t over-winter. Replace with fresh mulch.
• Once nighttime temperatures hit 50 degrees or below, it’s time to bring houseplants inside for the winter. Relocate them in areas that receive as much sunlight as possible as lower light days begin.
•  Clean, sharpen and oil your gardening tools! Before storing for the winter, drain gasoline from your lawn mower, and make sure all parts are spic and span. You’ll be happy you did it now when springtime rolls around.

What to Plant

•  Replace frostbitten and ragged annuals with colorful cool-weather annuals and biennials. Plant violas, pansies, dianthus, snapdragons and ornamental kale for color throughout the winter months—remember to water and fertilize. Parsley, rosemary and other edible plants look great mixed in with annual flowers too.
• Think about four-season interest when choosing shrubs and trees. Witch hazel, daphne odora, Lenten roses, Japanese pieris, winter honeysuckle, forsythia, leucothoe and blueberries are a few of the many choices available that will give you color, flower, fruit and fragrance during many seasons of the year.  
• Think ahead to spring—plant spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and tulips in late November. Use a bulb fertilizer for magnificent flowers once warmer weather returns.  
• Roses can be planted in early November. Be sure to water them at planting and throughout the winter, but wait until March to fertilize.


Mary Kay Woodworth is executive director of the Georgia Urban Agriculture Council. She previously ran Practically Gardening, a landscape consulting firm, and was Master Gardener Coordinator for the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Service. Mary Kay is a frequent speaker at area schools, garden clubs, civic organizations and trade shows.

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