Wollemi Pine Zone Pushing

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by David Peters, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. David Peters

    David Peters Member

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    Has any one out there planted or is considering planting a Wollemi Pine in a zone 6 or 7 in the BC interior USDA 5 & 6 for experimentation purposes.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Would definitely die.
     
  3. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    I thought they survived 2 ice ages??

    Ed
     
  4. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    Australia during the ice ages. http://cos.anu.edu.au/Resources/Posters/iceage.pdf
    According to this, they are claiming about four different ice ages. According to this source, glaciers did reach Tasmania.

    Remember where the "Wollemi Pine" was found. It was a rather isolated gorge. In addition, according to the above resource, it is unlikely that the Wollemi Pine was subject to glacier ice, but rather cooler temperatures.

    Many areas of the Earth were still quite warm during the Ice Ages. For example, in my native Michigan, most evidence suggested that glaciers did cover most of Michigan, but not much further south. Most of the middle and southern United States did not see any of the ice.
     
  5. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that info Mark. Where they were found is about 200km west of Sydney. It doesn't get that cold there, well when we are not in an ice age that is...

    Ed
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    I can't see it lasting long term anywhere colder than zone 9, and probably zone 9b at that.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Yep.
     
  8. David Peters

    David Peters Member

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    I fully realize it is always a risky endevour planting specimens 2 zones under its desired range, but I am interested in acquiring information as to just what is its threshold for minimum temperature. In my area which is zone 6, Araucaria araucana is successfully grown one specimen is over 4 metres in height. I have one myself that experienced -23 celcius unprotected in its first winter and numerous times equal to or greater than -15 celcius with no serious consequences. I am currently experimenting with Athrotaxis laxifolia.
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    The problem is weather variability from one year to the next . . . in zone 6, the next winter could just happen to drop down to -30°C.

    I've seen Araucaria araucana zapped in a severe winter in zone 7 when it got down to -27°C, after getting to about 6m tall over the previous 20 or 30 years of more average winters.
     
  10. David Peters

    David Peters Member

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    Yes I absolutely agree. If mortality occurs, it will likely result from an ordinary or out of the ordinary severe weather event that may even be of a very short duration.
     
  11. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    I am the owner of the Cox Arboretum www.coxgardens.com in Canton, Georgia USA. Also am the current president of the American Conifer Society. As such, we experiment with a number of rare conifers from Cathaya to Tsuga forestii.
    We are a solid Zone 7A and have planted a Wollemi out in an area where it receives some moderate protection from associated broadleafed evergreens such as Ilex, Magnolia insignis, Magnolia foveolata, etc. It is in a fair amount of shade and we have kept it moist. Olanted in spring, it has attained considerable growth and tonight we will encounter our first freeze. I have hopes it will survive.

    On an unrelated note, am looking for the following plants: Torreya jackii and Cephlotaxus manni. Thanks,
     
  12. Greyspruce

    Greyspruce Member

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    I have a wollemi pine planted out and it looks fine it may survive temps of
    -15.c/5.f so you might be ok with it in Z7.Im also looking for seed of many
    unusual Chinese conifers looks like you grow a few of them.Also in Z7 parts
    of Britain there maybe a few Wollemi pines planted out.
     
  13. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    Most of our rare Chinese conifers are yet small and have not set seed, otherwise, I would be most happy to share. Thanks for the courtesy of a reply.
     
  14. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    What? In the Scottish Highlands at 300 metres above sea level?? No way!!

    Edinburgh RBG (nearly on the coast; on the edge of zone 8/9) are keeping theirs under glass. They know enough not to throw good money away.
     
  15. Greyspruce

    Greyspruce Member

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    Edinburgh is much colder than you think more like Z7/8.Here in the southwest
    the climate is much milder and wetter.I think wollemia has a chance in a Z8
    climate if it can take -12.c it should be able to take -15.c.I think it will grow
    in the milder parts of Britain.The one in Harlocar gardens Yorkshire it will be
    interesting to see how it does that must be in Z7.
     
  16. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    I know how cold Edinburgh is and isn't . . . almost the same as where I live. Bear in mind it is only 2km from the Firth of Forth, so gets the warming effect of the sea. Some climate details here:
    http://www.plantnetwork.org/directory/e.htm
    Note that their absolute minumum temperature is about the same as Wisley in Surrey:
    http://www.plantnetwork.org/directory/wsy.htm
    And three degrees warmer than Cambridge BG:
    http://www.plantnetwork.org/directory/cgg.htm

    Their outpost at Dawyck is probably just into zone 7, but that's at 250m altitude and much further from the coast.

    Harlow Carr is zone 8.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Supposed minimum temperature tolerances aren't the whole picture anyway. Many plants growing in warm southern climates that return to mild temperatures immediately after a short brisk spell will survive rather low readings under those conditions. Those same kinds will not tolerate the extended cold and resultant freezing of the root zone typical of northern areas.

    Another factor is summer warmth, hot climates promote hardening and maturation of shoots that may not occur in cool and dull areas (such as most of UK). Inadequately hardened top growth may be lost to cold that wouldn't be a problem were the same specimen fully matured and at its full level of hardiness.

    In fact, one way to recognize plants not adapted to cold climates is them tending to continue growing late into fall, instead of shutting down when days become shorter/nights become longer.
     
  18. David Peters

    David Peters Member

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    I am not entirely familiar with the British plant hardiness zone rating system. Is it relatively close to our Canadian system or the USDA system? Right now, it is my understanding that there is a government iniative to completely revamp our Canadian system via updated climatic data and public input to attempt to have a zone system based upon the individual plant. I would assume the European system is already refined in comparison to North America.
     
  19. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    When I bought my WOLLEMI TM, it came with a certificate of authenticity and a care booklet. In the care booklet under the FAQ section, the question,

    "What climate is best suited to the WOLLEMI tm pine tree"
    In Australia the WOLLEMI tm pine tree has grown in a range of temperatures from 23f to 113f (-5c to 45c) and trials in North America and Japan have indictated that it can survive temperates as cold as 10f (-12c).

    So it's likley to be a borderline tree here in harsh winters, and outdoor planting will have to be in the best possible site. Fortunately these extreme temps are of short duration and happen infrequently in the overnight hours.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  20. Tim MA z6

    Tim MA z6 Member

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    I've got a small wollemi pine outside in my garden, zone 6 Massachusetts, USA. It was buried in snow for about 8 days. The snows finally melted and it looks OK so far. Low temp before the snows came was probably in the 10F to 15 F range. The Trachycarpus fortunei leaves above the snow line are all fried. A Fatsia x hedera tip is fried as well. A recent photo:

    http://members3.boardhost.com/HardyPalm/msg/1198598873.html
     
  21. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    I believe your photos do prove that mulch and snow do have an insulating effect. It was the foliage that was exposed to low temperatures and drying winds that were adversely affected.

    I believe most of us can "push" zones to varying degrees by creating "microenvironments" (large insulating rocks, wind breaks, etc.), especially with smaller plants. However, with larger plants it becomes increasingly more difficult the larger the plant grows. In addition, there appears to be a natural cycle to temperature variations that may include 10 or more years of relatively mild winters, followed by a cycle of bitter cold winters. Currently, most of the U.S. is experiencing milder winter temperatures than normal. The question of whether global warming is influencing all of this is up for debate and a topic for another discussion.
     
  22. David Peters

    David Peters Member

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    Thanks for he replies. Always good to here other peoples opinions, experiences, and experiments. My philosophy on out of zone planting is if you are not spending an exorbitant amount of money and can accept early mortality or a reduced lifespan then enjoy the plants while they thrive.

    If I recall I spent $14 on my Araucaria araucana and $20 on my Athrotaxis laxifolia, so if they were to succomb to an intolerance to the climatic conditions of my zone then I can accept that. I certainly will not go spending $200 or more on a specimen tree two zones or greater than my zone 6b. I will admit the $80 I spent on such a small plant as the Wollemi pine and its climatic requirements is making me reconsider an outdoor planting.

    I would very interested in getting updates on the Trachycarpus fortunei.
     
  23. Tim MA z6

    Tim MA z6 Member

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    Unless protected Trachycarpus will die or at the very minimum burn all it's leaves in my climate. I've tried mass plantings of Trachycarpus including 100's of the 'Bulgarian' strain as well as the 'Greensboro, SC' strain. All seemed to die or get toasted when temps dropped in the 5F-8F range. There didn't appear to be variation in hardiness between the plants (where as Yucca elata did show a variation in hardiness between plants.....for comparison). Last winter was one of the warmest winters I've ever recorded (low temp of +0.2F). All trachy's fired. Two did regrow. I did use lots of leaves around the trunk base and wrapped the leaves in 'silt fence' fabric.

    I agree, the wollemi pine was buried in snow when the temp did drop the lowest so far. But it has seen temps in the mid teens F. It's fun testing a new plant since the data out there is so limited or not applicable to my climate. I recall reading a message from a nursery in interior California claiming all his wollemi pines were fried after a 15F night......this shows me they are not going fully dorment in California.

    I'm pretty confident the wollemi pine won't survive the winter here....but you don't know until you try! I'm kinda surprised it's not dead already!!! Part of me didn't think it could with stand being frozen solid for more than a week. The monkey puzzle tree looks worse....possibly damaged already......for comparison.
     
  24. David Peters

    David Peters Member

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    My monkey puzzle tree in its first year got exposed to minus -15C and greater numerous times with no snow cover and 30 kilometre/hr winds and it browned off a little and completley rebounded in the spring. That would be in the equivalent of your USDA zone 5 verging into your zone 6.
     
  25. Tim MA z6

    Tim MA z6 Member

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    I think you mean USDA zone 7 or 8 if your speaking about -15C. That's a pretty warm temp. Unless you mean -15F. My monkey puzzle was totally burned last winter and the low was +0.2F (-18C). The farthest north monkey puzzle I know of on the east coast which is unprotected is located in New Jersey.....very nice looking specimen. I'm sure there must be a few near New York in the warmer microclimates.
     

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