- Nov. 15th is typically the time for the first frost in the Piedmont region.
- Protect tender garden plants on the first nights of frost with over-turned cardboard boxes, newspaper, bed sheets/pillowcases or burlap. Often, such precaution will reward you with several more weeks of bloom.
- Remove all dead foliage and clean up vegetable and flower beds after the first killing frost.
Trees and Shrubs
- Plant and transplant trees, shrubs and groundcovers.
- Continue deep watering of newly planted evergreens, trees and shrubs until freezing weather occurs.
- Choose deciduous trees now so you can buy them for fall color while they still have leaves.
- Popular choices include Chinese pistachio, maple, persimmon, redbud, sourwood and crape myrtle.
- Take root cuttings now of woody shrubs and evergreens, such as azalea, holly and hydrangea.
Perennials, Annuals & Bulbs
- Dig, divide and replant overcrowded perennials that have finished flowering.
- Cut back peonies after the first frost.
- Cut cannas just above ground level and remove the debris to avoid over-wintering leaf rollers.
- Spring flowering bulbs are still available (daffodil, Dutch iris, freesia, anemone, oxalis, ranunculus, hyacinth, crocus and tulip).
- Plant paper-white narcissus in stones in bulb pan in early November to have blooms for Christmas; continue bulb forcing through late winter.
Vegetables and Fruits
- Asparagus crowns
- Strawberry plants
- Onion sets and garlic
- Mix in compost to top 2 inches of soil
- Mulch warmth-loving fruit trees like figs and pomegranates
- Prepare vegetable beds for next spring
- Add organic matter but wait till spring to fertilize.
Lawn & Landscaping
- Start or repair cool-season lawns
- Overseed warm-season lawns with cool-season grass
- Fertilize fescue lawns to promote root development without excessive top growth
- Water newly planted lawns in low rain areas to keep them moist for seed germination
- Clean up leaf litter to control slugs and snails by removing their hiding places.
- Don't water until the soil feels dry
- Water thoroughly, let the water soak in
- Water again until water drains into the saucer
- Empty the saucer within an hour.
- Watch for spider mites on your houseplants (they thrive in dry air)
- At the first sign of any insect infestation, isolate that plant.
Always more to do
- Discourage winter weeds:
- Put a pre-emergent down
- Cultivate or mulch around bedding plants, shrubs and trees
- Check house gutters for fallen leaves, needles, and twigs
- Heavy fall rains will quickly overflow clogged gutters, possibly damaging foundation plants below them.
- Keep the compost heap moist to aid in the decay process
- Turn the pile to mix in additions
- Throw leaves, weeds, spent annuals and vegetables into the compost pile
- Add fertilizer residues from nearly empty bags onto the pile and mix
- Keep your shears and loppers in good working order
- Wipe with a rag dipped in paint thinner to remove sticky resins
- Sharpen and oil thoroughly
- Order seed catalogs now for garden planning in January
- Consider companies that specialize in old and rare varieties or wildflowers
- Test your soil
- It's free this time of year, other than the postage
- Kits are available from the Mecklenburg County Extension Office, 1418 Armory Drive, Charlotte.