November gardening tips
Trees, shrubs and climbers
Plant and move bare rooted trees, hedges, shrubs and climbers...
Plants are relatively dormant now and there is still enough warmth in the soil to allow them to become established before the really harsh weather sets in.
Thorough soil preparation is essential for planting trees and hedges which should last a lifetime. Excavate the hole or trench and dig in plenty of composted manure or organic matter - preferably a couple of weeks beforehand to allow the soil to settle. Soak the root ball in water for an hour and plant to the same depth as before (look where the stem becomes darker), stake, if necessary, on the windward side to prevent rubbing, fill the hole, firm well (but beware over firming as this will drive out air from the soil and can be even more damaging than loose planting), mulch with a good layer of organic matter and keep well watered. Protect newly planted trees, hedges and shrubs from the elements with a temporary netting windbreak if the spot is windy or exposed.
Prune tall shrubs
Pruning can be carried out from now on throughout the dormant season. Once the leaves have fallen it is easier to see the overall shape and prune accordingly. Leave tender plants, evergreens and prunus varieties (ornamental cherries, plums and almonds) until spring. Prune tall shrubs such as lavatera and buddleja by about half to protect them against wind rock. Trim conifers again if necessary, making sure you do not cut into the old wood.
Now is the ideal time to plant roses. Soak the rootball in water, mix the compost from the pot into the soil, put some composted farmyard manure at the bottom of the hole and remember it is essential that the hole is deep enough for soil to cover the graft union; lay a stick across the hole with the rose in place to make sure!
Prune existing roses by about half to prevent 'wind rock' and burn all fallen leaves - this will help in the battle against fungal diseases which will otherwise snuggle into your soil ready for action again next year.