November Gardening Tasks

Prepare your garden now for early spring planting.
Putting Leaves Into Trash Bag

Fall Garden Cleanup: Gather Leaves Into Bags

Use a large trash bag to gather up leaves.

Photo by: Andy Vinson, Loch & Key Productions

Andy Vinson, Loch & Key Productions

Autumn is almost past and winter is just around the corner, but that doesn't mean your gardening work is done. If you plan to have a spring garden, you should spend some time this month preparing for the next growing season. Here are some maintenance tasks that need to be completed before the arrival of cold weather and freezing temperatures.

Garden Clean-Up

Pull up all annuals that have died back, cut back your perennials and remove all fallen leaves from the area to use as mulch. Too many leaves can retain water that could lead to root rot in your perennials and also attract pests.

We're sorry, there seems to be an issue playing this video. Please refresh the page or try again in a moment. If you continue to have issues, please contact us here.

Tips on Fall Garden Cleanup
Loading Video...

Save Seeds

Retain the seeds of all the vegetables and flowers you want to keep in your garden for the next growing season. Avoid exposing them to moisture and keep them in a dry, air tight container (stored in a dark, cool place) until you are ready to plant them.


Rake up all dead plant material, cuttings, twigs, weeds, and leaves and compost them. Any diseased or infested plant matter should be separated from the rest and disposed of as trash.

Last Chance to Water and Fertilize

Make sure to water and fertilize any perennials in your garden before the first freeze. The cutoff date is usually before Thanksgiving for most climate zones.

Soil Enrichment

If your soil is hard and compacted or you just need to supplement your existing top soil, cover your garden with a layer of compost and turn the earth over. This will add nutrients back into the ground and improve the soil structure. If you need to correct the acidity of your soil by adding limestone, this is the time to do it. 

Preserve Tender Bulbs and Roots

November is an ideal time to lift up the dahlia, cannas and begonia tubers in your garden to store indoors during the winter. The best time to dig them up is usually after the first frost. This is also a good time to dig up and divide overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials and replant them while the soil is still warm. The thinning process will improve the health and appearance of your herbaceous perennials. 

Grow Cover Crops

Cover crops like rye grass and crimson clover will help suppress weeds, prevent erosion and become rich soil conditioners when they die back in freezing weather. If they don't die back, you can simply cut down the crop and till it under the ground before planting your new spring garden a few weeks before planting season. Cover crops are also recommended for attracting beneficial insects into your garden which help control unwanted pests.

Winter Protection

Protect any vulnerable perennials in your garden from severe winter weather by applying a layer of straw over them. You can also wrap them with burlap and paper or build cold frames to protect them. Mulching with wood chips or pine straw is also a good defense.

Next Up

Fall Gardening Checklist

Essential chores to get your garden, lawn and tools ready for cooler weather.

Winterizing Plants

Discover easy techniques for getting plants ready for winter’s chill.

Our Top 8 End-of-Summer Cleaning Tips

Fall has never looked so clean.

How to Winterize Above-Ground and In-Ground Pools

Learn how to prep and protect your swimming pool and its equipment from freezing temperatures during the off-season.

How to Prevent Cracks in Terra Cotta Pots

A crackpot in the garden is one thing, but nobody wants cracked pots. Don't let the weather damage or ruin your terra cotta containers.

Winterizing Your Garden

Button up the garden before the deep freeze of winter arrives, and you’ll be on your way to a gorgeous season next year.

How to Winterize Your Rain Barrel

Get tips on protecting your rain barrel from damage through the winter months.

How to Winterize Your Lawn

Learn what to do to prepare your lawn for winter. Taking the right steps in fall prepares your grass for quick spring greening.

Winter Wheat Planting

Put your vegetable garden to bed with a cover crop—and it will wake up next spring with better soil.

Why You Should (and Shouldn't) Apply Fall Mulch

Find out the pros and cons of laying down mulch this fall.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.