After a cold, frosty night last Monday morning, the days became sunny and much warmer like a typical October day. Predictable is the fact that fall colors are not intense as usual because of the abnormally dry weather. Sugar maples in the surrounding woods at the nursery have shed many of their leaves before turning the flaming orange, red and yellow hues as usual.

Poinsettias in the rear greenhouses are still growing so much so that this year’s crop will be larger than normal. Color in the bracts is just now starting and will finish up by Thanksgiving. Many plants “appreciate” what is known as bottom heat in order to keep their root systems warm which in turn results in better top growth.

A flush of the boiler piping system with a solution of citric acid has removed the build-up of deposits of lime and scale in the small diameter heating tubes on which the plants sit. These alkaline water deposits had build up so much that the boiler would frequently shut down because of the constriction of the water flow. The smooth operation of the boiler is imperative especially when unrooted cuttings arrive from Guatemala as the temperature of the rooting media must be kept about 72º F for proper root formation.

Last week too was the break down of our recycle water pump as the pump impeller had worn out and other issues of problems were apparent where the 15 HP motor is connected to the Myers centrifugal pump. Fortunately, an identical pump and motor still in the shipping box was right on the shelf to “plug in”. The main irrigation pump with a 25 HP motor and a pumping capacity of almost 700 gallons a minute is also just sitting on the shelf in case of a breakdown.

Gone are the old days when we obtained a new pump in less than a week as we experienced up to a 3 week delay in 2012 which caused major problems. The pumps just sitting idle are merely an insurance policy in case of a breakdown.

Next week we will be taking the majority of the shrubs and some trees to the winter storage houses although they will be available through November.  Happy planting!