We had another LONG autumn season and we all gardened and landscaped and harvested and planted well into November and even into December. The average air temperatures and nighttime lows were WELL above average for months and the soils were accumulating solar energy (warmth) for an extra long time. On top of that we had a few rain and snow showers here and there that added some moisture to the soil and kept relative humidity slightly elevated for some periods. All-in-all a great fall for planting & growing. Deciduous trees installed this past summer and fall should have put-on tremendous root expansion and will be far better off come spring when they use those larger root systems to take-up resources.
The PUD’s state mandated 2-day a week watering was a God-send for improved fall color. Too many folks water too much too often as it is, especially in late summer / early fall when we need to be letting plants know it’s time to begin acclimating to cold for winter. Some deep cold followed by very mild temps gave plants a long acclimatization period that meant excellent fall colors for us all to thoroughly enjoy. We were able to see and appreciate, as we do with bulbs and perennials, early, mid and late fall color plants. Amur maple one of the earliest and serviceberry one of the latest.
We brought-in a truck-load of quaking aspen and shapely blue spruce late in October. The aspen (bomb-proof weeds that they are) are used to create snow-catch & shade for other overwintering plants and the spruce for living Christmas trees. We almost sold-out of both with the extended planting season and I’m a fraud we disappointed a few living Christmas tree devotés.
Harvesting high-elevation cut silvertip Christmas trees can and is done (by some) in October. It is ideal to wait until they have had quite a few days of extreme cold to insure they are fully acclimated to their normally harsh winter environment before harvest. It is also best to harvest as close to Christmas as possible. These two conditions mean that we often only have one to two days to get out there and do our thinning job before snows make it impossible to continue. This year we waited and waited and waited for cold, finally harvesting in the couple of days before Thanksgiving. We did see a slight increase in needle-drop over the usual but still not much when compared to douglas fir. Our plantation-grown noble fir were incredibly lush and dense after the heavy rains and snow they received in the northern coast range where they’re farmed. The rains and warm snows throughout December kept them in their prime. It also helps that we keep all but the few on display in deep shade under row-cover.
We had nearly 100 pre-ordered Christmas trees and most folks have already put-in their order for December 2015. Let us know if you are interested; the pre-orders get the pick-of-the litter. We cut a few extra 4-5’ white & red fir this year and since the Boy Scouts and Optimists were more-or less sold-out by the 22nd, we were happy to, as usual, provide trees for folks arriving to their second-homes or vacation rentals at the last-minute. We tried to close by noon on the 24th but Jose stayed-open ‘till well past 2:00 helping folks. Friends and colleagues with nurseries are surprised that we try to NOT sell-out of Christmas trees. The B.S.A. and Optimists clean-up and leave their lots. They don’t have to see the faces of disappointed parents and children when you tell them the trees are all gone. We do see them and we’d rather turn a hand-full of thinned or plantation farmed trees into organic mulch than disappoint a mini-van full of kids excited for Christmas. We provided 100's of yards of garland and 100's of wreaths from one to six feet across. (due to an ordering snafu, we have 3 rolls of fresh garland left - and we'll be open Friday-Sunday the 2nd-4th)
SO, 2014 was fun, crazy, fast and in the past. Cheers! Here’s to you and yours, wishing you all a healthy and very happy 2015!!!
Posted on Thu, January 1, 2015
by Eric Larusson filed under