Wollemi Pine Zone Pushing

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

  1. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The British Isles are unique in that the Gulf Stream pushes so far northward, producing such a moderating effect on climate. I doubt there's anywhere on the globe that's close in comparison.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    >I realize that many of us in the colder zones will not be able to enjoy the majesty of seeing a huge grove of Araucaria, Wollemi, or Agathis, but I sure wouldn't mind going on a holiday down south and seeing them.<

    As you surely would as these are familiar features of planted spaces in warm climates. I've been to California and Hawaii and all the major communities have large specimens of various species scattered about, the latter state also using them in conservation plantings as well. Each suitable climate has its characteristic species being a conspicuous component of the cultivated landscape. Here in the north only the monkey puzzle succeeds for long periods, lately a few Parana pine have been making some progress - and doomed efforts to grow bunya-bunya are repeatedly made. There is no lack of interest. Rarer species will not be getting planted so much because these are rare - I doubt anyone is making a conscious effort to ignore them. Nowadays humanity is burning up the planet, which set of multiple vanishing plant species shall public collections try to conserve today? And what about tomorrow, when another whole list of unfortunates disappears forever?

    The Plant Locator - Western Region (Black-Eyed Susans/Timber) had commercial listings for 7 species of Araucaria in 2004.
     
  3. David Peters

    David Peters Member

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    To LPN

    There is zone pushing, and then there is plant death sentencing. If there is a line, I would think planting an Auracaria in Calgary would be crossing it - outdoors that is. Calgary which is a zone 3, has one of the worst climate possible for plants - even native species experience hardship and mortality. The warm drying westerly Chinook winds can raise the temperatures from -20C or -30C to +10C or more within a period of 24 hrs multiple times throughout the entire winter season.
     
  4. Stevil

    Stevil Member

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    Where is the furthest north Monkey Puzzle in the world? I'm pretty sure I've seen it and it's at almost 70 degrees north in the garden of plant enthusiast Bjorn Thon close to the Norwegian town of Tromsø. The picture below was taken about 2 years ago and the tree is now 10-years old. I'm told that it has grown mostly horizontally in the last few years (keeping below the snow perhaps).

    http://forum.hageselskapet.no/files/~images/12112007070913_img_0105_ivarj_apeskrekk.jpg

    Even though there is a natural explanation for the fact that Araucaria araucana can survive in the very far north of Norway in a place which is dark for several months in winter and perpetual daylight for several months in summer, this was nevertheless my biggest gardening surprise ever when I saw this plant. It was completely unexpected...

    There is a zone in Norway from Bergen in the south west where large trees can be seen around the town and along the outermost coast which has close to the ideal climate for the Monkey Puzzle (this is of course due to the effect of the "Gulf Stream"). I've seen Monkey Puzzle in the mountains in Chile in late spring with masses of old snow on the ground, more snow in fact than we get in the areas of Norway suited to Araucaria at that same time of year.
     
  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I was looking at some photos from one of our members called Krystina from Poland. In that folder she had what I think were trees belonging to the monkey Puzzles and they were in Chile.

    Also saw a program on the Andes the other day and the area they were showing looked positivley tropical and it was a long way south. There were penguins climbing up steep mossy mountain trails to lay eggs in hollows .

    Found it . The film was called "The Andeas : the dragons back"
    "Flamingos are just one example of the Andes' startlingly diverse wildlife. Towards the south of the continent, penguins nest in nearly vertical mountainside forests while hummingbirds visit wild fuschia that grows by a glacier's edge. The world's smallest deer, the pudu, emerges from under a rhubarb leaf."

    http://www.pbs.org/previews/nature-andes/

    It was a beautiful film to watch and I seem to remember a lot of plants in the strangest places.

    Liz
     
  6. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    I would like to point out to some that there are a few posts attempting to equate survivability in the presence of snow with cold tolerance. The presence of snow does not necessarily mean it is bitter cold. Many people who live in the colder climates will receive snowfall at 32F/0C just as often as 0F/-18C and even colder. The mountains of Chile (where A. araucana live) and the gorge in Australia (where W. nobilis live) may regularly receive snow, but likely do not receive the type of cold found in zones 5 or less. There is wet, heavy snow in relatively warm temps (around 32F/0C) and there is the dry, powdery snow found during bitter cold temps.

    Do plants experience the effects of the "wind chill factor"? If so, then this may be overlooked, as well, when assessing cold tolerance. Temperatures may drop, but is the particular area protected from cold winds, or is the particular area exposed where the wind chill factor can drop to -30F or less? For example, in my zone 5 in western Michigan, the weather may be quite different on the shore of Lake Michigan versus 30 miles/48 km inland, even though they are in the same zone. Is it early in the winter when the lake makes the winds warm, or late winter/early spring when the lake makes the winds cold?

    I realize I may be pointing out the obvious to some, but I get the sense that there are some others, that live in colder environments, that may let their enthusiasm for planting a Wollemi Pine outdoors cloud their judgement. Someone eluded to the fact that keeping these plants indoors is like visiting an endangered animal in the zoo. I realize that this may not be what nature intended, but I am quite sure many of us keep "houseplants". The Norfolk Island Pine has done quite well being marketed and used as an indoor plant. Are they impressive as a fully grown specimen in their native environment? No way. Am I worried about the Norfolk Island Pine becoming extinct any time soon? Not really. I keep my Araucaria and Agathis trees in containers, moving them outdoors in the spring and indoors in the fall. I am not saying that this is right or wrong, but the trees are doing fine and I can make visitors to my home aware of the family of Araucariaceae. I've even been able to bring them to my children's school and make them aware.

    The Wollemi Pine is currently being marketed as a potential indoor plant. If you live in an area subject to cold winters, if you have the room indoors, have some botanical knowledge, and you are truly interested in the plant, then make the commitment to give it the best life it can receive under those conditions. When the weather warms up, set it outdoors. Container plants typically grow much slower than when planted in the ground, so one should have many years to enjoy the plant. When it gets too large, then selling/donating it to a business that supplies plants for large corporate buildings/indoor shopping malls is an option. The point being, there is little need, in my opinion, to zone push any plant. My entire collection of plants (50+) are desert succulents/caudiciforms/pachycaul trees, as well as, my Araucaria and Agathis trees...none of which would survive a cold west Michigan winter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    They are successful in Tórshavn on the Faroes (62°N) and a little further north in Norway, maybe 63°N. Not heard of any in Iceland, but maybe they should be tried on the south coast there.

    The one you cite in Tromsø is certainly interesting, but I'd be surprised if it will survive in the long term. Lofoten might be a better place to experiment.
     
  8. RonS

    RonS Member

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    Hi, I am new to the UBC forum and this is my first post. I have a Wollemi Pine that was planted early last summer in my zone 6b garden. It appears to have survived this past winters temperatures. The coldest I saw it get was -18 C. This Wollemi is only about 18 inches tall, and is planted in a mixture of acidic soil and coarse grade coir mulch. Because of its size, it was covered by a blanket of snow, during some of the coldest temperatures we experienced. The winter temperatures did cause some of its foliage to change colour from green to bronze. I have mine sited next to an east facing fence, so that it gets the morning sun and afternoon shade. I also have a potted 20 inch tall Monkey Puzzle that I wintered indoors to try and increase its size. I intend to permanently plant it in the garden this summer.
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The snow cover will have made a big difference, it is excellent insulation.
     
  10. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    Ours survived the 2007/2008 winter here in Canton, Georgia (USA), We are a zone 7A.
    It never looked good all last summer and the best we could claim is that we had one in the arboretum. This winter we dipped to 11 F (-12 c) and it died. We get no snow here so it was on its own except for growing amongst some hardy broadleaf evergreens for some protection. Bottom line, even though it made it through one winter, its appearence and final death suggests that it is not suited to north Georgia (Zone 7A). Same results for Cupressus lusitanica.

    Tom Cox
    Cox Arboretum
    www.coxgardens.com
     
  11. RonS

    RonS Member

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    Hi Tom,

    Sorry to hear that your Wollemi didn't survive. I would try another one again in your garden though, as you should be able to grow it there. If you can grow all those wonderful Camellias, you should be able to do a Wollemi Pine. As you had said, it wasn't in good shape going into the winter, which most likely sealed its fate. My Wollemi saw at least -12 C, before it was ever covered by the insulating snow. I have mine in a elevated garden bed, positioned between some Rhodos and a Camellia "winter star". Our fence, plus a 6 foot tall Sciadopitys verticillata also helped protect it from the winter wind. Our local Royal Botanical Gardens here in Burlington, always mentions that they have a dinosaur tree "Wollemi" in their advertising with our local paper. They have it growing in their arboretum. On a final note, I have placed a large order with Greer Gardens in Oregon for a lot of rhododendrons, most which are suppose to be fragrant, as well as a 6 foot Franklinia Alatamaha, some Camellias and a couple of vines. Some of these Rhodos and Camellias are borderline hardy for my zone 6-6b, but I like a challenge. This is the first time that I have ever purchased plants outside of my country. Nice video tour on your web site, I am assuming the young guy seen at the begining, is you ?
     
  12. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    Thank you for your generous comments and yes, the not so young guy is me. Last year I spent a week studying conifers at the Bedgebury Pinetum, which has to be the best collection of species conifers in the world. Also got to Wakehurst and Hilliers then to the Czech Republic for 12 days. Needless to say, I was in conifer overload by the time I returned.

    I shall re-consider Wollemi in a different location. We generally have good luck with our collection and take pride in knowing how to cultivate. Another challenge for us has been Cathaya. On a closing note, we are looking for a source for Carpinus fangiana.

    Best Regards,
     
  13. sjmeff

    sjmeff Member

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    Hi - was curious if Tim MA z6 is still on this board and if his Wollemi Pine survived after a few winters in Boston. I live in Sandy Spring, MD, also Zone 6b, and received two Wollemi Pines as a gift. I'd like to try planting one outside.

    I will put it in a protected area in our garden. Are there any other considerations to help it survive the winter? Before winter would I need to any special prep?

    Thanks,
    Stephen
     
  14. bamboofish

    bamboofish Active Member

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    Just a thought,
    I always here people saying because the tree or plant is pushing zones they plant them in protected areas. I don't think a protected area should be a shady area, but rather a spot protected from harsh wind which can be damaging.
    I find trees grown in shade often have slightly less hardiness, since they sometimes don't harden off early enough in the fall. I think most trees need all the sun they can get, for hardiness.
    Also good drainage is important, wet winter feet kills more things than dry feet.....
     
  15. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    I had heard that in their natural habitant, they found growing in partial shade and damp soil, which is why they escaped fire being destroyed by fire. Does anyone know for sure? We just recently planted a 2nd 2 ft (.6 m) specimen that gets full morning sun. Usually in the southeastern portion of the U.S. we have an extended growing season compared with our neighbors to the north. This allows our wood to usually harden off sufficiently prior to the on-set of cold weather.

    Since I am already in the text mode -- we just received a rare Microstrobus fitzgeraldii for evaluation. Does anyone know the zone hardiness as well as cultural conditions.

    Thanks in advance
     
  16. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  17. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    Liz, Thanks for the prompt reply. I should have been more specific with my questions so here goes again.
    a) does it prefer shade, part shade or full sun?
    b) what is the soil pH where it was discovered
    c) is the soil moist, wet dry, well-drained, etc.?

    Thanks,

    Tom
     
  18. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Sorry Tom can't tell you but given Australian soils I would not over fertilise. There are some other threads on the sight. Do keyword search of Wollemi. We had a huge discussin about a year ago.

    Liz
     
  19. RonS

    RonS Member

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    The Wollemi Pine that I posted about, back in April, didn't survive. It didn't look too bad in early spring, but it continued to degrade as the weather warmed. I Finally discarded it, with the thought of maybe trying another one in future. I apologize if I gave anyone false hope, for similar Zones.
     
  20. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    We have determined that at least here in southeaster U.S., Wollemi is very prone to root rot. Best in light shade on very well drained soil. Also if one is using it in areas where winter temperatures get below 20 degrees F, it will suffer progressive damage and eventually succumb. Our new accession is going into its first winter in a protected area. If it can't survive there, likely will remain a candidate for indoor use.

    Cox Arboretum
    www.coxgardens.com
     
  21. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Which is what?
     
  22. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    it's still 20 degrees F, for me to convert I would have to go on the internet, assume you know how to do that. It's what I have to do when I receive a mention of C.
     
  23. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  24. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate your input.
     
  25. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I am not surprised to see a 20 degrees F. cutoff being decided upon. Attempting this tree in frost-prone climates is probably a guaranteed waste of time and money.
     

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