Another super-freeze coming......

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Arktrees, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Arktrees

    Arktrees Member

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    Well, here I am facing another super-freeze similar to what we had just two years ago. Main difference being plants are not as advanced as two years ago. Forecast for Tuesday morning April 7,2009 is for 18F/-8C which is just one degree from the all time April record low or 17F at the (nearest reporting station) that happen just two years ago. When that happened two years ago, it got to 12F/-11C in my cold valley. Killed several plants outright. I have about a 3'/1 meter Mikawa Yatsubush leafing out, and beginning to look beautiful. I'm considering covering/surrounding the entire plant in dry lawn clippings/straw to provide as much insulation as possible. Last year I covered the plant with a double layers of bags with a reptile heating rock underneath with some success. But it looks to be much colder this time around (got to 21F last year), and the plant was significantly smaller. So I'm looking for ideals. So how about it! Any brainstorms out there??? Please.........
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Maybe spun bond row cover would be adequate. Yes: new growth of Japanese maples is frost-susceptible. Damage may be seen on some sites some years even here in USDA 8. A woodland tree in nature, from southeast Asian climate that may be much more consistent seasonally than in much of North America.

    Japanese maple cultivars also tend to be more delicate generally than the parent species; one year when there was some spring frost damage at a nursery I was working at it was the laceleaf cultivars that got scorched.
     
  3. zonebreaker

    zonebreaker Active Member

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    I know some people put the old christmas tree lighting in the tree and cover it up whith insulation cloth,the small lamps give some heat it works quite well for bigger trees.
     
  4. Arktrees

    Arktrees Member

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    Thank you zonebreaker. That may very well be next years attempt. I don't think I will be able to do again what I just did. I covered the entire tree in a mixture of hay/fin grass clippings. I now have a very large mound next to the house, and it was exceptionally unpleasant putting it there. Cold, gusty win, grass flying everywhere, like something out of a movie. Not fun. I don't expect it to prevent all damage to tips etc. but I do think it will save severe damage to the tree. Now if the wind will stay up some to keep it from hitting rock bottom.......

    Arktrees
     
  5. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    The super-freeze is here! Both yesterday and this morning there was frost. Yesterday there was ice on the plants. I was desperately trying to find a way to save my fully leafed-out trees, since I have hundreds, and I happened to be at Lowes on Monday when they were covering up their plants. They were using black landscape fabric, which is a spun-fiber sort of material. They said it would save your plants from the freeze. Since they were using it, I thought I would give it a go, and bought a 300' roll.

    The plants in pots I put on the porches. Lots of masonry and its much warmer close to the house - no worries there. Those in the ground were in real danger, and they all got mummy-wrapped in landscape fabric. They look like little black goblins in my yard! More suited for Halloween, but if it saves them, I'm happy.
     

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  6. paxi

    paxi Active Member

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    Kaitan,

    How low did it get out there?

    The ones on the left look great but I wonder if the ones on the right are wrapped too tight around the base? I thought the point was to trap heat from the ground? (e.g. page 3 of http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1002.pdf). Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing; I know that with your number of trees, when the frost is coming, it must be a daunting task.
     
  7. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I don't know the final temp where I'm located. I'm at a higher elevation than the city, and being in the country the temps are often lower. I'm assuming if there was ice and frost it was at least 32 degrees.

    The cone shapes were necessary to cover larger trees. I had to attach the fabric to the trunks - it is very stiff and difficult to wrap, and we had 25mph winds, so it was the only way to keep the covers attached. The smaller trees I just made a folded envelope of fabric stapled on 2 sides and slipped over the tree. This only worked for very small trees.

    My neighbor and I worked for 4-5 hours in driving sleet and temps in the 30's to get the trees covered. It was torture!
     
  8. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Would it be possible to make chicken wire cylinders around the trees and loosly fill them with straw or similar and perhaps wrap the black cloth around the cylinder as extra. Maybe even loosly packed news paper in the wire instead of straw...
    Is old hessian type carpet underlay still available that could line the wire tube? It could be attached with the electrical wire bundeling strips and make a lid for the top with cloth or similar. Use a tomatoe stake to hold it inplace.
    Liz
     
  9. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Liz,

    Those are good suggestions, but I didn't have time to do all that. Just had a few hours before the freeze hit.

    I've taken the wrappings off the trees and they all look fine! Danger over, for now at least...
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    No I guess your right but maybe if there is a prolonged spell you could have some ready for the more precious stuff. We have few frosts these days I can remember breaking ice on puddles in my childhood and dad placing hessian over some plants. These days it gets cool but hardly any frost
    Liz
     
  11. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I hope your trees all survived and that the freeze has passed. We got cold here, but fortunately it stayed just above freezing. I was worried, but we are just breaking bud here, not fully leafed. Please give an update when you can.
    David
     
  12. Arktrees

    Arktrees Member

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    Well I have good news to report from my end. It worked. I also got some help from the weather in that it did not get as cold as forecast. The temp dipped to 24F/-4.5C instead of the 18F/-8C weather service thought, and took longer to get there. All the wind, and some clouds moved in at sunset and hung on for several hours prevented that. I had completely covered several plants with straw and fine dry grass clippings along with our Mikawa Yatsubusha, and all came through completely undamaged. Our poor Ginkgo took yet another freeze, and we'll see how it recovers. It was wrapped in a tarp with three reptile heating rocks, but it's still toasted. Still it's much better than last years.

    On a side note, one of our Paperbark Maples (Acer gresium) is leafed out, and took the 24F without protection. It appears to have suffered very little damage, and again our 'FireDragon' Shantung Maple (Acer truncatum) suffered NO ill effects from this temperature, just as it had did not last year at 21F.

    I don't think I will be doing the straw thing again. I think next year I'm going to be more prepared and less ad hoc since this is the third year in a row my location has had a late freeze. I can't say before that, as I did not live here then. I do know for the time being at least, that my other three JM's as staying in containers.

    BTW, anybody know at what temperature damage begins to set in?

    Happy to hear your trees are fine Kaitain4.
     
  13. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Glad to hear the good news! The Chinese maples are more hardy generally and here, at least, they also leaf out swiftly but later. I am taking notes from your experience because climate change is making for extremes everywhere, and we need to be prepared. I visited Tennessee for a weekend the beginning of March, with no extremes predicted, and it got into the teens and snowed heavily here in NY while I was gone. 2 larger containered maples were outdoors, and I am watching them, hoping they survived. Meanwhile a Shishigashira spent the entire winter outdoors, into single digits, and survived. I kept piling snow over the container to insulate the roots. It had split several winters ago in ice, and I didn't have room for everything in the garage and had to leave something outdoors. I did my best to protect it and now will find a landscape location and do careful pruning to have it thrive. He earned it!
     
  14. Arktrees

    Arktrees Member

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    jacquot,
    My particular location is in a valley that is maybe a couple miles wide with several hundred feet hills on both sides. I am also probable less than a 1000 feet from one of those hills, so when the sun sets in winter, it gets cold FAST, and get consistently 3-7F colder than the nearest weather service reporting station (about 5-6 miles) which it's self is located in a valley in a cold spot. Days are still as warm, but you often can see the inversion near sunset at tree top. So allot of my issues with freezes is local climate/geography effects. Just the same, it is influencing what I plant, as I look for later emerging and/or colder tolerant plants now. That is the reason that I include temperatures in my posts (here and elsewhere) so that persons that may be searching at some time later for the cold tolerance of their plants will have some values from my and my plants experiences.

    As for leaving containers outside, So I bet your container plants will be fine, and if anything may have simply served to root prune them for you the EASY way. :-). I know it's colder in NY at times, and can be much more sustained than my location (which is USDA 6b BTW), but your trees will probable be just fine. I left a Emperor 1 out all winter with NO protection whatsoever, and it is growing beautifully now. During winter it endured 3F as a low, and many more nights of 8-12F with swings back to 50's-60's in between. That's just the nature of the climate here. But yes my climate is definitely and obviously changing. Probable because I reside at a location that is between a true southern climate, but neither is a northern climate (makes a season long lawn tough to do). This has the effect that small changes in climate is more obvious, and can change time lines substantially. Redbuds are 2-3 weeks earlier than they were in the 70's-80's, same with the dogwoods, being two obvious examples. Both are native plants well adapted, so it's very unlikely due to a fluke of some sort.

    Let us know what happens with them.

    Just my two inflation depreciated now non-copper coin legal tender know as pennies equaling the term known as "cents". Sorry just had to do that! :-)

    Arktrees
     

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