By Steve Smith, Sunnyside Nursery
Believe it or not, November is a busy time in the garden — or at least it should be if you consider yourself a gardener. There is cleaning to do and mulching and pruning and dividing and fertilizing, just to mention a few of the chores to accomplish this month. Seems like I go over these things every year and yet people still think they are done and it is time for Mother Nature to take over until spring. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but that just isn’t the case. What we do in the month of November has huge ramifications on how our garden will look next spring so listen up closely.
Annuals, perennials and veggies
Any beds that we are done with planting, such as veggies, annuals or even perennials should be weeded and mulched. If there are issues with winter weeds (like chickweed or shotweed) you should have a pre-emergent herbicide applied, such as Preen. As for cutting back perennials, refer to my previous columns on “sticks and mushers”. You can find them on my website in the archived columns here.
It’s been a tough summer for lawns — although mine looks fantastic because I watered it and have fertilized it with an organic food for several years now. It’s really too late to overseed, but there are still things we can do to make our lawns look better. Come in or give us a call and we will fill you in.
Fruit and flowering trees
Lots of disease this year due to the interminably long, cold and wet spring. Dead wood should have been pruned out long ago. So at this point do the pruning and spray the trees with Bonide Orchard Spray which contains both sulfur and pyrethrum and is completely natural. Do your spraying this month when most of the leaves have fallen and again in late winter as the buds begin to swell.
Remove those sad summer annuals and refresh with pansies, winter hardy perennials, ground covers, shrubs and even small trees — or just fill them up with spring blooming bulbs. But please, do something.
Yes, November is the consummate month to plant bulbs. Just dig, drop and be done! What could be simpler?
Berries, grapes and kiwis
Sorry but these plants get a little more complicated, so it is best if you come in and talk with us.
“Hip high in the fall, knee high in the spring.” This is how we should be pruning most of our roses. In early March, finish the job by pruning out any dead wood and thinning out the canes to 4 or 5 per bush. Climbing roses need to be secured to their trellis and the long canes shortened up just a little bit. For winter protection, pile up some mulch about 10-12 inches high at the base of the plant. It is easier than you might think to grow beautiful roses in the northwest.
Fall and winter interest
I know it is hard to believe, but we can plant year ‘round in the Pacific Northwest. Now is the time to come into the garden center and see what is looking good. There is lots of fall color from deciduous shrubs but also there are conifers and broadleaf evergreens that color up nicely for the winter and retain their foliage. Options, you have got options, so don’t settle for boring when you can have exciting.
Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at
425-334-2002 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org