beginning Nov. 1
I am looking forward to better times than we have experienced in October. The weather has seen many perfect fall days of clear blue skies and perfect temperatures, but that is not what we are going to remember. Blackouts, business closed, fires, and wind have spoiled it. I am not even sure why I paid my PGE bill this month. I should be invoicing them for the loss of income. I am only able to write this newsletter tonight because we have a generator that we have been running at night so I can get on the computer to check e-mail (I don’t have a smartphone), keep our food from spoiling and yes for some lights and TV. Okay, enough on that subject.
This morning (Oct. 30) saw the killing frost arrive at the nursery. It was 28 here this morning, and yes, my heat is electric but perhaps not for long. In years past, the killing frost always came to our property the week of Halloween, like clockwork. The past four years were not the case with it not coming till mid-November or so. Does this mean a cold, dry winter? I do not know, but we will see. Unfortunately, many of the Crape Myrtle turned brown overnight, skipping their potential beautiful show of fall color. The Raywood Ash looks great right now with their ‘claret’ fall coat, and the Maples are changing and so are the Pistache. The Red Oaks too.
November is the month to do your first of three dormant sprayings to your fruit trees and your roses if you think they are done for the year. We talk about this every year. We mean applying a fungicide and/or oil to your trees to kill overwintering disease and insects. The fungicide is for the disease, and this time of year, we recommend copper, the most effective organic control of peach leaf curl. The horticultural oil is to smother overwintering eggs of the insect population. In our area, beneficial nematodes can be applied to the soil year-round. These kill overwintering insects in the larval stage in the ground. These include many beetles like the Pine Borer. If I get enough demand for them, I will put in an order. They are only good for a month stored in the refrigerator, so I would like to know I can sell them, as the demand so far has not been enough for us to stock them year-round.
This month is the month to start treating your Hydrangea macrophyllas if you want them to be blue. This is because the flower buds for next year start forming in the cane this early. That is also why you do not, I repeat, do not cut your hydrangeas back hard if you want flowers next year. Simply cut out this years flowers to the second bud break, any dead canes, and any older canes that need thinning to the ground. For Hydrangea macrophyllas flower color depends on the Ph of the soil. The acid soils bring out the blue color and more neutral to alkaline soils produce pink flowers. We sell GreenAll True Blue to acidify the soil, and four or five applications a year are recommended.
Fall bulbs are here, and if you want daffodils next spring, this is a good month to get them in the ground along with tulips, hyacinths, and the like. Divide overgrown perennials this month but for most grasses, it is better to wait till spring. Don’t forget to bring in your battery timers that are not to be left out in freezing weather and to prepare to bleed your above-ground irrigation valves when you turn off the irrigation. This is so no water is left in the valve to freeze and potentially break it. Valves have a small round knob on the top, and if turned counterclockwise will open the valve and drain any water left in it. Of course, this only works if you have a main shutoff valve for the system, which you should and have turned off prior to bleeding the valve.
Speaking of cold, its time to get all those frost-tender plants inside or covered with frost cloth. Debbie and I went through the nursery just in time a few days ago, and the frost cloth came out today for the citrus and other cold-sensitive plants. We are protecting citrus, avocados, succulents not hardy to at least 25, cyclamen to keep the flowers from freezing, cactus, maybe a few geraniums of value, last year’s Christmas Cactus which is still outside for now, etc. I know a lot of you do not get as cold as we do on the valley floor next to a creek (low spot), but if you are on the flats or higher elevations, you have been warned.
November is also when we start getting ‘Christmasy.’ This years living Christmas trees get in around mid-month, and the best/biggest ones go fast. Bigger potted trees have been scarce from our most economical source, and other sources price points are just too high for big trees. The plan is to have cut trees by Thanksgiving weekend. Again we will be short on tall nobles, although we are getting some that are open and naturally grown (much more open) and nice Nordmanns, and of course plenty of big Dougs. Again we have been selling out in just two weeks time, so don’t delay getting your tree even if you are not ready to put it up yet. We will have wreaths and garland too.
We need to make room for these trees and 2020 bareroot roses and fruit trees, so with that in mind, we are having a deep sale on most of our fruit trees and all roses. Get this year’s rooted roses and trees at bareroot prices for the rest of 2019, limited to stock on hand. This will not include 2020 liner pots of berries, figs, olives, grapes, pomegranates, etc. that usually come this month also.
We are going to be spending a lot more time indoors, and this is when your houseplants are especially important. I read that the average house needs 15 plants to filter the air from all those chemicals we find in our rugs, furniture, paints, varnishes, and cleaning supplies. We always put houseplants on special this month for this and other reasons. The sales room gets pretty chilly at night this time of year, and we need to make room for indoor holiday plants. The following is a copy of a blurb I wrote previously because we received a lot of questions on if a plant was pet or toddler safe. Houseplants are our plants of the month.
Which are safe and not safe for children and pets?
As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, a lot of the studies on the detoxifying value of houseplants was done by NASA. They recommend 15 for the average home to filter the toxic gases emitted from paints, varnishes, furniture, rugs, and cleaning supplies we all have in our homes. However, a lot of the best detoxifying plants are not safe if eaten by children or pets, cats in particular. Chelsea recently added a love bird to her menagerie, who is eating all her houseplants. I realized it might be a good topic to add to the website.
Plants that contain calcium oxalate cause pain and swelling in the mouth. These include common houseplants like Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane), Philodendron, Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily), and Pothos (Devil’s Ivy).
Plants that contain saponins can cause vomiting and diarrhea. These include Mistletoe, Holly, Aloe, Ivy, Snake plant, and Asparagus fern.
Other plants have ficin and ficusin toxins. These include Rubber plants and Weeping Fig. Coleus is okay for children but not dogs and cats.
An Easter Lily can kill a cat. Caladiums, Corn Plants (Dracaena), Poinsettias and Amaryllis are all toxic for dogs and cats. Some Ferns are highly toxic. You can add good ole Mums to the bad list.
A List of Kid, Dog and Cat Safe Plants
|Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant)||Gerbers||Prayer Plant|
|Areca (Butterfly) Palm||Haworthia||Rosemary|
|Baby Tears||Money Plant||Spider Plant|
|Bamboo Palm||Moth Orchid||Swedish Ivy|
|Burro Tail||Parlor Palm||Thyme|
|Boston Fern||Peperomia||Maidenhair Fern|
|Dwarf Date Palm||PonyTail Palm|
|Echeveria||Polka Dot Plant|
Some Parrot Safe Plants
|Christmas Cactus||Parlor Palm|
- All houseplants 20% Off
- All iron – benches, arches, art, stakes, baskets, etc. 30% Off
(the best price of the year-early X-mas shopping?)
- Making room for Christmas trees and evergreens so…
All roses and 2019 deciduous fruit- 50% Off