NOVEMBER | OSU Extension Service | 2013

Sustainable Gardening

Oregon State University Extension Service encourages sustainable gardening practices.

Preventative pest management is emphasized over reactive pest control. Identify and monitor problems before acting, and opt for the least toxic approach that will remedy the problem.

  • First consider cultural, and then physical controls. The conservation of biological control agents (predators, parasitoids) should be favored over the purchase and release of biological controls.

  • Use chemical controls only when necessary, only after identifying a pest problem, and only after thoroughly reading the pesticide label. Least-toxic choices include insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, botanical insecticides, organic and synthetic pesticides — when used judiciously.


  • Force spring bulbs for indoor blooms in December.

Maintenance and Clean Up

  • Service lawn mower prior to winter.

  • Check potatoes in storage and remove any going bad.

  • Place a portable cold frame over rows of winter vegetables.

  • Place mulch around berries for winter protection.

  • Cover rhubarb and asparagus beds with composted manure and straw.

  • Rake and compost leaves that are free of diseases and insects. Use mulches to prevent erosion and compaction from rain.

  • To protect built-in sprinkler systems draining the system and insulate the valve mechanisms.

  • Clean and oil lawnmower, other garden equipment and tools before storing for winter. Drain and store hoses carefully to avoid damage from freezing. Renew mulch around perennial flower beds after removing weeds.

  • Protect tender evergreens from drying wind.

  • Tie limbs of upright evergreens to prevent breakage by snow or ice.

  • Trim chrysanthemums to 4 to 6 inches after they finish blooming.

  • Leave ornamental grasses up in winter to provide winter texture in the landscape. Cut them back a few inches above the ground in early spring.

  • Central/Eastern Oregon: water your newly planted perennials, trees and shrubs every 6 to 8 weeks with a deep soaking to prevent drying out, if there is no snow cover and the ground is warm enough to accept water.

  • Central/Eastern Oregon: wrap the trunks of young, thin-barked trees (maples, aspen, ash) with paper tree wrap late in the month to prevent sunscald. Remove in April. Wrap new trees 2-3 years in a row until the outer bark has thickened.


  • Plant window garden of lettuce, chives, parsley.

  • Good time to plant trees and shrubs. Consider planting shrubs and trees that supply food and shelter to birds; e.g., sumac, elderberry, flowering currant, and mock orange.

Pest Monitoring and Management

  • Rake and destroy leaves from fruit trees that were diseased this year. Remove and discard mummified fruit.

  • Check firewood for insect infestations. Burn affected wood first and don't store inside.

  • Treat peaches 4 weeks after leaf fall spray for peach leaf curl and shothole diseases.

  • Monitor landscape plants for problems. Don't treat unless a problem is identified.

Houseplants and Indoor Gardening

  • Reduce fertilizer applications to houseplants.