Photos of today's planting of our new Wollemi pine

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by Katie Teed, May 28, 2009.

  1. Katie Teed

    Katie Teed Member UBC Botanical Garden

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    Hi everyone,

    I thought some of you might be interested to see a couple of photos from today's planting of our new Wollemi pine that recently came out of quarantine. We're calling him "Little Billy" in reference to the parent tree "The Bill Tree" - also known as "King Billy." It's so big and impressive looking. 11.5 feet tall.

    The plant is the highlight feature of our new Prehistoric Plant Tour which began today. I'll try and provide some additional photos that really show off the tree soon but wanted to get these ones out to you as soon as I could.

    Photos are (in order):
    1) Grahame Brown (Managing Director at UBC Botanical Garden), Adriane Carr (Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada) and Kevin Lamb ( Australian Consul General and Manager of Austrade)
    2) Kevin Lamb unveils Wollemi pine, with Grahame Brown

    Cheers,
    Katie
    Marketing and Events Manager
    UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    This means it is thought to be hardy there?
     
  3. kazander

    kazander Member

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    Does anyone know where you can buy these Wollemi Pines in Canada? I've seen some at Art Knapp from National Geographic but now they're gone.
     
  4. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    The cold hardiness of Wollemia nobilis is still an open question. The official literature says hardy to minus 12 C (about 10 degrees F), although this could easily mean that one tree survived a brief dip to that temperature. Not very helpful. On the other hand, if this means minus 12 C is an average extreme minimum, then Wollemi pine should be rated as USDA Zone 8. In July 2007, I saw a group of Wollemis planted out in Washington DC (in the gardens of the Smithsonian). At that time, they had evidently been overwintered at least once, but the gardener couldn't tell me if the trees (all about 1 m tall) had been wrapped or otherwise protected. I'd be very interested to know how these trees are faring. In any case, I think the effect of cold temperatures is only one aspect of the species' survivability.

    Our own experience here at the Botanical Garden is possibly more illuminating. In July 2007 we planted a small Wollemi in the Australasian section of the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden. This area is relatively open (and now even more open after last winter's brutal onslaughts), with relatively infertile, extremely well-drained soil. The tree clearly languished in the winter of 2007-2008. That winter (October through April) was pretty typical, with low temperatures going to minus 5 C a few times and precipitation totaling about 825 mm (about 30 inches). It appeared from the colour and condition of the above ground portions and the fact that top growth was very slow to start in 2008, that there had been some damage to the roots. The winter of 2008-2009 finished it off. This time, temperatures dropped to minus 15 C in December and stayed low for weeks on end. Precipitation was also high, with plenty of snow contributing to the 900 mm total. Whether the die was cast for this Wollemi early in 2008, nobody can say for sure, but I wasn't too optimistic, and I'd bet that even in a more typical winter, that plant would have struggled again.

    The new plant, "Little Billy," has been living at the Botanical Garden Nursery in a frost-free poly-tunnel for about a year and a half, under quarantine (because of its Australian soil) for much of that time, and getting increasingly root-bound. It is now planted close to a west facing wall in fertile, well-drained soil. This time, we'll not take chances with the weather. We plan to give it protection from both excess moisture and extreme cold over the winter months.
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'd suspect that's the correct answer; it would place it as zone 9 hardy, as an absolute minimum of -12 would be fairly typical for sites with an average minimum of around -7°C.
     
  6. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I have a smalller specimen in a two gallon pot. It was left in my large cold frame (poly-tunnel) over winter. Temps inside there couldn't have been much better than outside and being a potted specimen the entire plant, roots and all, where subjected to the cold.
    Today it's fine and growing well. I hope to find a suitable spot for planting out this year or next.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  7. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Stop the presses! I recently learned of this Wollemia nobilis, pictured below. It was purchased at the Shop in the Garden in a two-gallon pot and planted out last summer just outside of Sechelt. The tree appears to have survived last winter's cruel onslaughts, despite being left to fend for itself (the owners spent the winter in the US). The site is on the east side of Porpoise Bay, where it is evidently quite protected from the north and east winds. It was planted in unamended soil under some semi-mature conifers. For an unprotected plant, it looks pretty good to me. I don't imagine the temperature dropped as low as it did here, but I'm sure it was close to minus 12 C, anyway.
     

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  8. graeme

    graeme Member

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    goes to show that these plants have survived countless ice ages doesnt it
     
  9. Sunset Cycads

    Sunset Cycads Active Member 10 Years

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    I planted out my Wollemia nobilis a year ago under some Douglas fir trees. So far, so good (September 2010). My garden is on the waterfront close to Pender Harbour on the Sunshine Coast. I will report on its progress periodically. I used to have them for sale at my nursery but today sold the last one. They are truly remarkable trees.
     

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