Freeze coming after leaf out

Discussion in 'Maples' started by ksc, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. ksc

    ksc Member

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    It looks like we will be getting a freeze next week after weeks of record breaking warmth. I'd say my maples are 4 weeks ahead of last year with a few in full leaf out (zone 6). Temperatures are forecast to hit a low of 26* (F). At what stage of leaf out are these trees vulnerable? Most of my trees are small, 2-4' in height and many were transplanted to the landscape a few weeks ago, so potting them up and storing them inside for a few days is possible. The ones still in temporary nursery beds were going to be moved next week so potting them up too is an option. Problem is that I have about 60 trees so moving them all isn't really possible. Any experience in this situation would be appreciated. Thanks Kevin S
     
  2. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    I had this dilemma about a week ago,though luckily only 3or4 trees were at hi risk.You'll have to protect the leafed out ones somehow.Losing those leaves is very risky for young plants.I used frost fleece,though it layed on the leaves and deformed some of them,it's better than losing the tree.You could always form some sort of tent with canes or whatever.I found that the buds can be very swollen,almost to the point of breaking out and still survive a frosting,but if you can see any leaf emerging it's at hi risk.
     
  3. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member 10 Years

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    Oh just remembered,the leaves on my Katsura were out of the buds by 3/8'' but still tightly wound.They survived two nights of frost but any leaves starting to unfurl got tagged.
     
  4. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    A slight frost is not a problem, I've had lows of -1°C (30°F) in April and May before with no ill effects. Slight frosts after leafout are to be expected and healthy trees have no problem dealing with them. Unfortunately I am not sure where the cutoff point is, and 26°F sounds a little daunting.

    One thing to definitely avoid is letting direct sun shine on the newly emerged JM leaves while the frost is still on them. Either move them somewhere out of the way of the morning sun, or cover them with horticultural fleece or similar product.
     
  5. ksc

    ksc Member

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    Thanks for all the comments. The new forecast is for lows of 23*F which means is going to be below freezing for many hours. I'm going to dig up those that are farthest along and store them in the basement for a few days. What I don't move I'll cover with plastic trash cans and 5gal. buckets. I do have some floating row cover for the vegetable garden but believe it won't do much with the prolonged freezing temperatures and high winds predicted. I'm going to try and locate some heat packs and put one under each bucket/can when the temperature hits 32 and cross my fingers....
     
  6. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    The trash can idea is good. Another way to keep some heat around them is to use bricks heated in the oven. Take ordinary building bricks - the solid ones are better than the ones with holes. Its also better if they are not wet. Put them on a tray in the oven at low temperature (175) for an hour and then place them near (but not too near) the plants. The brick will slowly release heat for a long period of time. If you can put them on top of a piece of wood or other insulating material it helps the brick stay warm longer. Of course, you'll need to do this as late as possible so the heat does not dissipate before its needed most - usually around 4-5AM is the coldest part of the night.

    Another method the citrus growers in Florida use is to set up sprinklers that continually mist the plants with water. Ice is its own insulator, so if the plants are coated with a 32 degree layer of ice the colder, more damaging temps are kept away from the plant tissues.
     
  7. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Dutch maple growers, who are often confronted to this, report damage starting at about -4°C. The conclusion to this is that protection is required only when T < -4°C

    Gomero
     
  8. ksc

    ksc Member

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    Thanks. It looks like we'll get 12 hours of sub freezing temps, with a low of 23*. I potted 50 maples today and put them in the basement. The wind is gusting to 40 mph so I'm going to use the sprinkler on my remaining trees. I actually have 78 trees now, I guess I lost count....
     
  9. CSL

    CSL Active Member

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    I don't want to speak for the OP

    but I too am in Mass and losing my mind a bit tonight with the weather that is coming.

    Here is an example of what I have on an Orange Dream - it is a 6' tree with a 3" trunk, still in the crate. I would imagine ksc is in a similar state with his early leaf out. I have a Iijima Sunago that is in a pot and further along - it went into the garage.

    Moving this Orange Dream would be a bit more difficult - what risk do you think this stage poses?

    Sorry in advance for the poor iPhone pics...

    Thanks,
    CSL
     

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  10. Jalf

    Jalf Active Member Maple Society

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    I'm here in Middleboro, MA and just covered all of my trees with bags that had broken bud, about 20 of them. I guess we'll all keep our fingers crossed.
     
  11. CSL

    CSL Active Member

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    Yea, its really a bummer - I am not at all geared up for a spring downer due to this crazy weather!
     
  12. ksc

    ksc Member

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    I have a dozen or so that were too big to move. I'm getting up at midnight and turning on the sprinklers. I was able to cover a few with barrels and mound the dirt/mulch up around them. The wind has died down a bit here so hoping the barrels stay put.
     
  13. CSL

    CSL Active Member

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    My solution for my orange dream - not entirely elegant, but should do the trick.

    Tied the tree up as tight as possible - then put a 55 gallon black 2mil bag over the top of the tree

    Put a 75w light fixed inside the bag - my hope is that the light heats the air just enough to keep things solid over night... we'll see

    Wife thinks I am nuts

    Cheers,
    CSL
     
  14. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    It's 35 F at about midnight here in Ithaca; the local weather report says a low of 19 tonight, but we probably won't get that cold in my neighborhood--maybe 25.

    I can't do much about my big trees that are beginning to leaf out--I'd have to wrap things up like a Christo exhibit. I expect to see some damage tomorrow. Didn't do much pruning this winter; maybe the cold will do it for me.

    I've also taken potted plants out of my basement as they have leafed out, so I've got 8 or so in full or nearly full leaf outside, plus a thousand seedlings (jammed together in flats). The pots are too heavy to bring in again. I've dealt with this before--I cluster them together and cover them with a giant sheet of plastic and weight down the edges with bricks. In 20 years I've never had any serious damage, but I haven't seen cold this bad at this stage of leaf-out before.

    Here's a question--I have the idea that getting my potted plants thoroughly wet before I cover them with plastic is a good idea--maybe I read that they mist orange groves when they are worried about frost, or something. Am I right? Why would more humidity and wet leaves have a protective effect, if it does?

    I notice that the native maples haven't leafed out--only the nonnative species don't know how to behave. I won't expect many rubrum or saccharinum seeds this year, though--they started flowering weeks ago, and I expect we'll lose all of those flowers and young seeds.

    I'll be interested to hear how everybody did tomorrow.
     
  15. ksc

    ksc Member

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    Well, the weather forecast was right....

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ksc

    ksc Member

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    <a href="http://s434.photobucket.com/albums/qq67/pseeker/?action=view&amp;current=IMG_9778.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i434.photobucket.com/albums/qq67/pseeker/IMG_9778.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
     
  17. Jalf

    Jalf Active Member Maple Society

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    I'll be going out to uncover in just a little while...and assess any damage.
     
  18. ksc

    ksc Member

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    I wouldn't uncover until at least 10am if possible. We just hit the low of the morning right now, 24.6F.
     
  19. Jalf

    Jalf Active Member Maple Society

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    Thanks for the info.
     
  20. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    The protection only lasts while the water is actually being sprayed; as the water freezes, it changes to a lower energy state and the excess energy is released in the form of heat which will keep the leaves, fruit or twigs from falling below 32°F. The technique used by the citrus growers is to spray water on the tree canopies continuously from the time the freeze starts until the temperature climbs back to 37°F.

    Potential problems include branch damage due to ice accumulation and waterlogging of the soil.
     
  21. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks MAF. I just uncovered the potted trees, and they seem fine. Not sure about the trees in the ground--some of the tip growth seems a little droopy, but then it always does when emerging. Certainly no signs of ice, no leaves that were clearly frozen.

    I suspect that we didn't get much below freezing. Extremes of weather here tend to be buffered by the lake that runs north from Ithaca for 40 miles.
     
  22. Jalf

    Jalf Active Member Maple Society

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    Well, my trees seem to be OK. Still watching Shishigashira because it was so leafed out, but otherwise, everything else seems fine.

    I'm curious to know where those of you from New England purchase your trees? I do a lot of mail order but if there is a local nursery that has a large selection of Japanese Maples, I'd love to find it! Thanks.
     
  23. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Topiary Gardens in Marcellas, New York (near Syracuse) is somewhat near. Mail order or by appointment. Diana Smith is a delight to work with, and has about 500 varieties available.

    http://www.topiary-gardens.com/store/
     
  24. CSL

    CSL Active Member

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    I have purchased trees from Weston, Bigelow's, Anson, Iseli, and a few mail order from Wildwood Nursery.

    Purchased one from Essence of the Tree, would not do so again.

    Cheers,
    CSL
     
  25. ksc

    ksc Member

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    Well, Mother Nature is full of surprises. Was supposed to be 31*F tonight but woke up to 25.... Just planted most of my trees yesterday with quite a few in full leaf out. The sprinklers are frozen (should have drained everything last night after planting). I guess I'll find out which trees are hardy and which are not.

    Jalf, if you are looking for fairly common specimen sized JM's, Capeway Wholesale Nursery right in Middleboro has some pretty good sized trees at great prices. Make sure you take a ride in thier cart to the back field. For variety in both size and variety I've found Katsura Gardens in Plymouth to be the best place around here.
     

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