Wollemi Pine Zone Pushing

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

  1. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    yes, I think it is two things, accumilated damage from repeated colder than it's normal temp range as well as being extremely sensitive to root rot
     
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Given that it is very warm in the area it was found mid to high 30's C today I can't believe it would survive in ice age conditions unless well protected from freezing. I agee with Ron waste of time and money.
    Liz
     
  3. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    FYI ... my 2 gallon specimen managed a devistating winter low of -14°C (7°F). This potted specimen was left in an unheated coldframe during that, and many other cold spells last winter.
    Looks as good as gold, but maybe it's demise takes some time, perhaps years to become evident.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The first thing that happens to frozen potted plants is the outer, immature roots die. But if the top of yours looks more or less normal a year later the plant should still be alive. Failing conifers can malinger for years but they look like they are on the way out during the process.

    A critical point to the discussion would be how cold it got inside the frame.
     
  5. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I couldn't give you a clear answer regarding temperature. I do know that without heat, 6 mil poly offers very little thermal protection if any.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  6. drdna

    drdna Member

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    In regards with the monkey puzzle tree, I've got a small one in my backyard that is currently experiencing its third winter here in zone 4b(Quebec). It showed some browning the first year but the second year came out undamaged and we often have temps of -30C up here, although it's still small and well covered by snow.
     
  7. coxarboretum

    coxarboretum Member

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    As I have travelled around the globe it has become evident that Araucaria araucana is hardier than one would imagine. The problem here in the southeastern US is root rot. We are grating several specimens on Araucaria angustifolia which survives in our soil.

    Anyone have any experience with Austrocedrus chilensis?
     
  8. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    z6, 30 years ago in this area first snow fall would not have melt until spring, not the case anymore, but this is most likely not enough for a wollemi pine to survive here, on the contrary

    2 wps planted out, not in a spot where lowest temperatures of the region usually are reached, but I am ready for the worst outcome anyway

    12/20 23:58
    PC210247.jpg

    12/21 13:49
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    01/02
    P1020245.jpg P1020251.jpg

    today no doubt temperature dropped below 12 degrees celsius at least during night
    01/05 9:20
    P1050256.jpg

    another warmer days period is expected soon, then I will check again for signs of dying
     
  9. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    I am not sure it has dropped below 12 degrees Celsius this winter at that site, I did not check during nights. I noticed the garden thermometer is always indicating 1-2 degrees warmer than the car therm (maybe that is normal even in a cloudy day). If the last winter half is comparable to the first, I think the wp will survive. I know I may not seem taking seriously the reasonable prediction that they don't stand any chance in this zone, but I do. In the same time there is the undeniable fact that the global warming is zone pushing hard, could that have a positive effect in the case of my wp?
     
  10. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    update 01/24

    Now it is really cold, how foolish to think the second winter half could be like the first one, normally, last half is the coldest. Also how naive to consider global warming, which is nevertheless having an impact, but not in a sudden and in the same time uniform way.

    Just took these photos at dusk. -15 degrees Celsius.

    P1240276.jpg P1240277.jpg P1240278.jpg
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  11. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    It's looking a bit ill! Would iy have been possible to keep the snow off?
    Liz
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Probably would have been better to bury it completely with loose snow, that would insulate it well from the severe cold.
     
  13. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    Yeah, I would have rather buried completely. But...these are two of my three wps. Much of the last winter I kept the one on the left on a sheltered terrace, so in a protected place, then in January 2009 I planted it out on plus degree day, when I thought/hoped the worst had passed. Then there was again a heavy snow fall and minus degrees, not sure if comparable to now. And I did just that, buried it completely with care not to damage the branches. Then there was again a sudden increase in temperature, compacting the snow and thus putting much pressure on the branches, one of which was somewhat torn off by the quick melting snow.

    And talking about the ill looking (thanks for being indulgent), snow is bending the branches and the cold is making foliage turn brown, not looking good at all. Now I am mostly concerned about the damage that is being done by the temperature dropping under -12. What I learnt last winter (which actually was easy to foresee) is that once turned brown, even if a branch would survive, it would not turn back to green, like, say, in the case of a cryptomeria japonica.

    Well...now I feel like posting a picture with my third wp, which is doing rather well inside.
     
  14. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    01/30 +4 oC at the site at noon, the wps don't look any worse yet
    01/31 even warmer

    Weather it is a waste of money, it is not something I can stop anymore, and for me at least it was not a waste of time. As long as nobody was and is yet able to tell precisely, unless by guessing, its ultimate survival temperature, I said to my self, why not try it. Especially as last winters were mild here. And I know it is not possible to give an exact temperature limit other than as orientative.

    Still a long time until spring, and snow to come, but I am trying to figure out a way of telling they are already killed or not in this thawing period. If somebody can give me an advice on this. Coming out of winter dormancy, I assume one cannot assess the general health state of a plant until it shows new growth. But also I am wondering at what temperature and in how much time, weather in full sun or shade, the cambium of a conifer in general, and of a wollemi pine in particular, would turn to brown if dead. I suppose it is difficult to tell, it depends on the thawing speed. Could be hours, days?

    Now I would not mind their bad looking if they got out alive of this.
     
  15. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    plus 9 dc at 4pm today
    P1310270.jpg

    The snow removed itself off the foliage and the wollemi pine planted out in the last half or third of the last winter does not look bad at all, despite the recent minus 15 dc at dusk and most likely below minus 20 dc during that night.
    P1310272.jpg P1310273.jpg

    And look at the cutting taken, the milky sap is still there and active, that means there is still reason to hope. Am I mistaken?
    P1310282.jpg P1310283.jpg P1310293.jpg
    P1310317.jpg

    And here is how the foliage growth of 2008 already exposed to the 08/09 winter is looking compared to the growth of 2009, close to the end of this winter. I see quite a progress there.
    P1310318.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  16. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yeah, the weather is definitely a waste of money ;-)

    Hard to say for the moment whether the tree is alive or not, that could take a few months to tell. But I wouldn't be optimistic. Cutting bits off won't help! - that can allow ice crystallisation (of otherwise liquid supercooled water) to proceed into the wood of the tree causing additional damage.
     
  17. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    Michael, what you are saying makes sense and convinced me to be patient and wait for a few more months. This is important. Thanks.

    Also if I have to feel bad about my English, then this is not a place for me. This would be the true waste of time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  18. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Interesting conversation on radio Sunday re the pine and it's successful growth. Head of the botanical gardens here in Melbourne Aust. was asked about various trees including a swamp cypress (130 yrs old) and then they asked him about Wollemi Pine. He said any exposed specimens were not doing as well as those growing in the creek gully (same place as swamp cypress) His opinion was that they did better in filtered light and in a non wind and weather extreme exposure such as lawns. In their natural area they were in a gorge and the weather can be hot there. Similar to here. So not too wet but not exposed to the elements.

    Liz
     
  19. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    None of my business, but......

    Don't feel bad, I am sure nobody intended to cause offense. I believe jokes are some of the most difficult things to translate or understand in the non-native language.

    I am sure there are many people like myself who are interested to see how your Wollemi Pines do in the coming spring and summer, please keep us informed.
     
  20. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Danc your English is fine. There was a ;-) indicating it was a little joke.
    I am always being pulled up re my English because I tend to write as I speak. Fast no puctuation. and things often back to front.

    I too am interested in what our native is doing in far lands.
    Liz
     
  21. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    Sorry, I overreacted like a soccer goal keeper who had scored an own goal and would have liked the audience and the referee behave like nothing had happened.

    Thanks for your interest in these two Wollemi Pines' fate. I started to doubt there was any use in posting so many images and comments, especially when there could be no happy ending.

    I think it is time I made a distinction between the two wps, as they were not planted out at the same time. Whilst the first one was already exposed to a previous milder winter, the second one is facing not only its first winter outside but also the harshest in the last few years. Its later lateral growth of last summer, following its being planted out, consisted in a single branch and 2-3 buds. I took a cutting from this branch too yesterday. It was dead, like a wet sponge, if pressed between the fingers, there was no more green cambium and milky sap. Tried this gentle pressing test on the top of the leader right next to this branch, it still seemed of a healthy consistence. For the remaining time I am not going to take other cuttings and be patient, as Michael suggested.

    Today snow is back together with zero degree Celsius during the day.
     
  22. DVance

    DVance Member

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    Hi All,

    Danc, I've read your posts with considerable interest and sympathy. I am in North Carolina USA (US zone 7A) and we too have had a colder and snowier year then usual, although nothing compared to what you are experiencing.

    I did want to add a note on my Wollemi experience for anyone considering this plant (I had intended to do this in the Spring, so I could provide a more comprehensive update, but with this forum shutting to new posts in a few days, this seems like the time).

    I purchased a rather mature Wollemi (24" or so) and planted it out on January 1, 2009 during a warm spell (not recommended!). It had been inside for several months prior to that, although I had given it some daytime exposure to colder temperatures. It had an apical polar cap and polar caps on some of the branches. I planted it in a rather exposed position, on a hill for drainage, in area that gets approximately 50% sun in winter and maybe 25% sun in Summer.

    The first winter the temperature dipped to 9F (-12C) for several nights. There was damage to some of the foliage and the ends of some of the branches. There were a number of nights where the temperature was around 15F (-9) where no damage, other than perhaps a *very* light bronzing on some of the leaves, was evident.

    The plant survived into Spring, losing the branch nearest the ground and some leaves on existing branches. The polar cap dissolved and the plant pushed up about three inches of trunk with a good number of lovely new, latex green branches. Some of the existing branches also put out new growth, but those that had been damaged in the cold, did not. I know of at least two gardeners who lost their specimens.

    Otherwise, the plant seemed to do fine in the very hot NC summer. Interestingly, although outside the entire year, it did not develop a polar cap going into the winter.

    This year, the temperatures have again been colder than "normal," but have not yet dipped to quite the level of the lows of last year. We have had three snows however, some of which have persisted for several days and a week-long stretch where temperatures remained below freezing during the day and at night dropped to the mid- to high-teens F. So far, no new damage is visible at all.

    My preliminary conclusion is (clever micro-climates aside) that the recommended US 7A is probably about as zone pushing will allow for this plant to have a reasonable chance of survival. My experience suggests that while the "official" low of -5C degrees is too conservative, there will be damage at -10C. Mine hasn't died on me (yet!), but I suspect if the temperature were to drop to 5F (-15C), it would definitely consider it. Those kinds of temperatures are unusual in 7A, but will occur eventually.

    It is of course possible that the tree will toughen up as it gets holder (I am certainly hoping so!), but my feeling is that at these temperature ranges, it will probably require protection at least some years on some winter nights.

    Hope these data points can add to the information out there. If the forums ever re-open to postings, I'll provide an update.

    I loved reading all the posts and learned a lot in this and the other forums. I wish everyone luck!

    V
     
  23. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I recently posted to say the Botanical gardens here in Melbourne (zone 9) have found they do better when planted in a non exposed area such as with other trees. Out in an open lawn area they did no where near as well. The place they found them in in the Blue Mts is actualy a protected gorge and can be very warm and dry. Still zone 9 accordingto the table I looked up.

    message #93 in this thread

    Liz
     
  24. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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  25. danc

    danc Active Member 10 Years

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    Liz, it makes sense, the Wollemi Pine does not seem to be the kind of plant able to withstand open field conditions.

    DVance, in my position of hopefully not a future former ubc member/user, I am welcoming you and I am happy for you, as I am sure your Wollemi pine will put a new growth again. Thanks to you and others like you and gardens, like in Maf's example, the Wollemi Pine is given the chance to conquer again many territories, not in tens, hundreds but thousands and millions of years, a small fraction of its entire life, by then, the humankind might be nothing more than a non living fossil, just a piece in the big puzzle of life history on earth. Your testimony for me is also somehow relieving. And you have the big chance to see it live and grow planted in the ground, not in a pot. Thanks for sharing your experience and maybe you can post some pics.

    I am still not able, and don't even dare anymore, to draw the final conclusion about my Wollemi pines. But I am sure I will know sooner than June, by the time the buds started to push out last year. And as the time is closing in, my feelings are less and less intense, neither too sad if they died, nor too excited if they survived (let me dream a little). Even if it seemed otherwise, for me it was not a contest, like in sports. Question is, was there anything that could stop me from planting them out and let them experience -15℃ (not to mention below -20℃ which my camera did not witness)? No, I am afraid not. But still, should I have not made this public, thus preventing not me from being stupid, but others from knowing it?

    What I have done so far is more like literature than gardening, and I am not sure I can get completely rid of that. This is not good, given what appears to be the forum's restructuring direction.
     

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