PROTECTING ROSES AND OTHER NOVEMBER GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Horticulturist
and Charlie Nardozzi, Garden Consultant
Protecting roses for winter, draining hoses, and wrapping young tree trunks are some of the garden activities for this month.
Once the ground begins to freeze and you have consistent
temperatures in the low 20s (F), it's time to protect modern
hybrid roses from winter's wind and cold. The simplest method is
to mound bark mulch around the base of the rose (soil or compost
is less attractive to field mice), covering the graft union (the
swollen part of the stem near the ground). The mound should be
about one foot tall. Wait until spring to cut back the canes above
If a plant is rated for a zone warmer than the one shown for your
site, you might consider mulching. An example of a “tender
perennial” is crocosmia—a summer bulb producing spikes of red
(usually) flowers in mid-summer. Although usually listed as hardy
to zone 6 (average winter minimum of 0 to -10 degrees), these can
be grown even in a cold zone 3 (-30 degrees and below winter
minimum) with plenty of mulch or snow cover. You can find your
hardiness zones online from the USDA
(planthardiness.ars.usda.gov). Some plants are better off without
any mulch, especially in winter, when it can compact and encourage
rotting of the crowns. These include coral bells, delphiniums,
oriental poppies, iris, violas, and sedums.
Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti develop buds when night
temperatures are 55 to 60 degrees. If nights are warmer, place
your plant where it receives no light from about 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.
(such as in a closet) for 30 days. Don’t forget to move the plant
to light during the day.
It's time to bring hoses inside, or drain them if you leave them
outside. If the ground is frozen, the water in your outdoor hoses
will be too. If this happens, bring them into a garage where they
can warm up enough for the ice to melt. Then, coil them and store
for the winter. Avoid hanging them on a hook, which can cause
kinking. Make sure outdoor faucets are drained as well, and wrap
them for winter. Otherwise, they will freeze and may crack, or
may leak next spring.
Ceramic and clay pots left outside can crack when the soil
inside, or water absorbed into the clay, freezes and expands.
Empty them and bring them into a shed, garage, or basement for
winter. Also bring in ceramic birdbaths and statuary. If too
large to move, empty pots and cover them with a tarp.
Plastic spiral tree wraps and brown paper wraps can protect tree
trunks from sunscald and gnawing by rodents. Put them in place
before the snow falls so they will extend all the way to the
ground, or else the critters can sneak underneath the snow and
feed on the exposed lower bark.
This is a good month to stock up on bird seed to keep your birds
around during winter, and nourished. Although some birds favor
some seeds more than others, you can’t go wrong with black oil
sunflower seeds which most like and which you often can find on
sale in large bags. Avoid the “filler” seeds found in the cheaper
mixes that birds don’t eat. Peanuts out-of-shell are another food
that is a favorite of bluejays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and
chickadees. These are usually provided in a mesh tube feeder,
which these birds can cling onto.
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