A November application of fertilizer is very beneficial to a lawn of cool-season grasses. It promotes root development without excessive top growth. With a strong root system, your lawn will be better able to withstand drought conditions next summer.
After several killing frosts have occurred this fall, cut back dormant perennials to about 3 inches above ground.
Tulips and Dutch iris need to be planted in cold soil so they do not send up shoots before roots are established. If tulips are planted deeply, they will produce large, uniform flowers for many years. Deep planting also makes the bulbs less susceptible to mouse and squirrel damage.
Check house gutters for fallen leaves, needles and twigs. Heavy fall rains will quickly overflow clogged gutters, possibly damaging foundation plants below them.
Most yards have room for only a few fruit trees, so these must be selected with care. Before buying a tree, consider the ultimate size, the susceptibility to disease and insects and the need for pollination.
Remove all mummified fruit from fruit trees, and rake up and destroy those on the ground. Also, rake and dispose of dropped apple and cherry leaves. Good sanitation practices reduce reinfestation of insects and diseases the following season.
When time or weather conditions prohibit plowing or cover cropping, you may wish to let your garden lie under a mulch of compost, nondiseased plant wastes or leaves all winter to be plowed or tilled under in the spring.
However, a mulch of heavy materials, such as whole leaves, can become matted and keep the soil cold and wet long enough to delay planting in the spring. If using large or heavy organic matter, chop it fine enough so it can break down over the winter.
If you have any lawn and garden questions, call the Dawson County Extension at (706) 265-2442.
Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.