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AZ: Freeze Warnings and Covering Plants

Posted on 12/26/2008 4:35:30 PM PST by hsmomx3

Okay, I need some professional opinions here.

We are going to have below freezing temps. in North Phoenix tonight and since it is so windy, are there any alternatives to covering plants/shrubs?

Putting a cover over these items is useless since the wind is a factor.

Any suggestions would be most helpful.


TOPICS: Gardening; Weather
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/26/2008 4:35:30 PM PST by hsmomx3
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To: hsmomx3
Did you call Al Gore? (sorry I cound't resist!)

Here in SC the farms sray the peach trees with water. The ice that deveops creates insulation for the peach blossoms. Don't know if this would apply to you, but maybe. The wind would be a factor and might keep the ice from forming -- somebody else might know better. Covering them somehow is the best insurance.

2 posted on 12/26/2008 4:38:52 PM PST by PistolPaknMama (Al-Queda can recruit on college campuses but the US military can't! --FReeper airborne)
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To: hsmomx3; AZamericonnie; HiJinx; SandRat

Pining a few friends that might be able to help!


3 posted on 12/26/2008 4:39:37 PM PST by MS.BEHAVIN (Women who behave rarely make history)
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To: hsmomx3

The wind itself will help stave off freezing some. Depends on the temp and the plant.


4 posted on 12/26/2008 4:39:58 PM PST by gracesdad
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To: hsmomx3

water the ground


5 posted on 12/26/2008 4:41:07 PM PST by i_dont_chat
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To: hsmomx3

Shop for new plants in the spring.


6 posted on 12/26/2008 4:41:18 PM PST by mdittmar (May God watch over those who serve,and have served,to keep us free)
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To: hsmomx3

Unless you’re talking a hard freeze, the concern would be frost, I’d think. And, the wind should prevent frost.

If you’re still worried, those lawn and leaf bags with pull ties should stay on most landscape plants.


7 posted on 12/26/2008 4:41:32 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry

It will be in the 20’s where I live.


8 posted on 12/26/2008 4:42:57 PM PST by hsmomx3 (GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: hsmomx3; Diana in Wisconsin; gardengirl; girlangler; SunkenCiv; HungarianGypsy; Gabz; billhilly; ...

PING for some gardening advice!

Many thanks to Red_Devil 232 for resurrecting an older version of the garden ping list —— My apologies to all I have missed.


9 posted on 12/26/2008 4:45:43 PM PST by Gabz (Merry Christmas)
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To: MS.BEHAVIN; hsmomx3; HiJinx; SandRat

Watering the soil might help.

Can you cover & secure with rocks or rope?

Hopefully it won’t hard freeze here.....my geraniums are looking so pretty!


10 posted on 12/26/2008 4:48:41 PM PST by AZamericonnie
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To: hsmomx3

Well, what sort of plantings do you have, are they tropical varieties, or are you talking southwestern desert, what do you guys call it, xeriscaping or something like that?

I can only speak for the southeast, as far as preventing or limiting frost damage. The poster above who mentioned spraying to create a thin coating of ice is correct. In the orange groves, sometimes they use “smudgepots,” to put out a little heat and smoke to limit the frost.

If you’re only talking one night, and don’t want to trust that the wind will prevent frost from settling, get garbage bags or lawn and leaf bags with the built-in pull ties, put them over the plants and then pull the tie down reasonably tight and tie it off, but not tight enough to potentially damage the plants. If this unusual cold is going to settle in for a while, you might want to insulate the roots and lower portions of the plants; we in the southeast would typically mound mulch or pine needles around sensitive plants.

Does this help?


11 posted on 12/26/2008 4:49:08 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: hsmomx3

Dang typo!
I meant “pinging”
Where’s me glasses?
LOL


12 posted on 12/26/2008 4:50:06 PM PST by MS.BEHAVIN (Women who behave rarely make history)
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To: RegulatorCountry

I am talking about a ficus tree and our jacaranda tree got damaged two years ago and it is finally growing back.

I would cover them but the wind just knocks the covering off.

I guess if I spray them before I go to bed that should be sufficient?


13 posted on 12/26/2008 4:51:29 PM PST by hsmomx3 (GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: AZamericonnie

The soil is quite moist as we got a good soaking about midnight lastnight and it has been raining on and off all week.


14 posted on 12/26/2008 4:52:21 PM PST by hsmomx3 (GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: hsmomx3

Bust up a hay bale and get some ground cover down if you don’t have any plastic to cover the ground.


15 posted on 12/26/2008 4:54:36 PM PST by Issaquahking
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To: Issaquahking

LOL—wish I had some but I don’t!


16 posted on 12/26/2008 4:55:48 PM PST by hsmomx3 (GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: hsmomx3

In order for the spraying to be effective, you’d more or less need to turn a sprinkler on it, hitting all the foliage, and leave it on to create a coating of ice. So, you’d not want to hit it too hard with water/ice, which could end up damaging the plant due to the weight of the ice. Is this a large tree? Six feet, eight, ten? Too large to cover and tie it around the trunk(s)?


17 posted on 12/26/2008 4:56:46 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: hsmomx3

LOL.....we’re pretty soupy here too.


18 posted on 12/26/2008 4:57:53 PM PST by AZamericonnie
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To: hsmomx3

Here in Scottsdale/ N Phoenix where I work, we have Fichus trees as well as many other species of plant/trees. We lost some trees a few years back (Couldn’t wait for them to come back, although they probably would have) They had been wetted down with a mister.

I think we’ll just take our chances this time, and a previous poster is correct, the soil is saturated from recent rains. I guess we’ll see.


19 posted on 12/26/2008 4:58:25 PM PST by Greenpees (Coulda Shoulda Woulda)
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To: RegulatorCountry

The Jacaranda is about 6 feet tall and the other, the Ficus, was damaged two years ago but is growing back nicely and looks like a shrub but the trunk is so short and there is no way to tie something down around it.


20 posted on 12/26/2008 4:59:22 PM PST by hsmomx3 (GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Greenpees

Maybe that is all we can do, too.


21 posted on 12/26/2008 5:00:23 PM PST by hsmomx3 (GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: hsmomx3
When I have had plants that I just can't get inside during a hard freeze because of their size I have use bed sheets. To keep them in place I use binder clips to gather the sheet below the foliage so it wont blow off. If the plant limbs can take the pressure from the clip I just clip the sheet to the lowest branches or limbs. I would use clothes pins but have not seen any of them around for years.


22 posted on 12/26/2008 5:00:55 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Red_Devil 232

another use for those binder clips, thank you

live in south chandler, az. i have some bougainvilleas that i wish would go away, those boogers have thorns.


23 posted on 12/26/2008 5:05:18 PM PST by machogirl (taglines are like shoes: if you're a gal, you can never have too many)
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To: hsmomx3

Well, what you’re trying to do is keep frost off the foliage, one way or the other. Wind usually does that, if it’s a steady wind. Plantings that are sheltered from that wind, say on the side facing away from the direction of the wind, might still be at risk. That frost has to come from somewhere, and in a typically dry climate such as yours, I’d think widespread, saturated ground would provide the moisture to create it.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I’ve lost a beautiful mandevilla to frost before, it’s discouraging, I know.


24 posted on 12/26/2008 5:08:29 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: hsmomx3

I’m in Vegas (which gave me 4 inches of snow last week) so I know of which I speak. We have very similar climates normally and very similar species of flora and fawna.

Don’t water. Anything which is wet will freeze. Anything which freezes will die. Moisture is your enemy. Do not water until the freezing it over.

You want to cover any landscaping or irrigation pipes which are above ground. That is your most likely victim of freezing. The water in the pipes will freeze, shrink and pull the gaskets out which causes non-stop overflowing (which could then freeze if it stays cold long enough). Trust me, I’ve seen people with four inches of ice covering their ENTIRE YARD in Las Vegas because their irrigation pipes broke and flooded their yard which then froze into an icerink. You DO NOT want water on the ground or on any plant.

If you have delicate plants, those you can cover. Growers down south in Marana used burlap in the past but now have been synthetic fabrics which are cheaper. Freezing kills fruit. Anything which you need to bear fruit and is in the process of doing so will drop its fruit.

Palm trees, no problem. Mesquite, no problem. Palo Verde, no problem. Most trees, no problem. Leaves will die and fall off but one single freeze won’t do any long term damage.

You need to protect your water lines more than your plants. I spent lots and lots of time just south of your current position and I weathered lots of below freezing winters in the mountains. Nothing overly special was ever needed. Plants take the cold better than people do.

Just make sure you don’t have animals outside who aren’t covered, sheltered well.


25 posted on 12/26/2008 5:17:30 PM PST by bpjam (GOP is 3 - 0 in elections after Nov 4th. You Can Smell the Rally !!!)
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To: MS.BEHAVIN; hsmomx3; AZamericonnie; HiJinx

Over them and anchor the cover(s) with BIG rocks.

Beyond that Mrs.SR claims that I could kill an artificial plant.


26 posted on 12/26/2008 5:38:04 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: hsmomx3

Depends on how long it stays in the 20s. The wind really plays no significant role. Throw sheets over the plants and tie it at the base with twine or anchor the corners with something heavy.


27 posted on 12/26/2008 5:42:02 PM PST by Kirkwood
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To: bpjam

“Anything which is wet will freeze. Anything which freezes will die. “

Baloney. The ice acts as an insulator that keeps the temperature near 32 deg. Ice is used all throughout the south to insulate fruit crops.


28 posted on 12/26/2008 5:46:56 PM PST by Kirkwood
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To: hsmomx3
Cover the plant, then tie it with a torn sheet or rope- just make sure to secure the blanket or sheet to the ground Bricks, large rocks, heavy cast iron pans, etc will keep the wind from blowing the cover away.
29 posted on 12/26/2008 6:39:28 PM PST by GOPJ (GM's market value is a third of Bed, Bath and Beyond. Why is GM “too big to fail”? Steyn)
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To: hsmomx3

If your ornamental trees die, then it is time to replace with EDIBLE LANDSCAPING. Edible landscaping brings you closer to self sufficiency and economic protest. Besides, can you trust your food supply?


30 posted on 12/26/2008 6:41:27 PM PST by SisterK (pop culture is the opiate of the people)
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To: hsmomx3

Interesting answers, from one end of the spectrum to the other!

Don’t know about jacaranda, but if it gets down to 20, your ficus is probably toast. :( Live on the easternmost coast of NC, and we lost some in this area a few weeks ago, course, we know this is a temp variable place, and we allow for it. They’re mostly houseplants here. If your ficus is moveable, do it. They lose their leaves if a cloud passes over the sun, so I can’t imagine it would survive 20 and wind, altho the wind may help the frost from settling. Covering them/ misting are both good ideas if you can do it. If you use the plastic bags, make sure you uncover them before too late in the day—as soon as you can when it warms up—or you’ll cook them. Sometimes, if the plants get frosted, spraying the frost off before the sun hits them will help keep the leaves from burning.

Good luck.


31 posted on 12/26/2008 7:22:27 PM PST by gardengirl
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To: SandRat; hsmomx3; AZamericonnie

20 degrees? Yowzah!

I lived there (Metro Center area) for 7 years and we never did anything special for our trees...we also never really had weather that was that cold.

I believe the earlier poster is right concerning the wind keeping your trees frost-free. I’d leave stuff be and ride out the cold snap.

We had snow here in Sierra Vista this evening. My fig tree will probably lose its last few leaves tonight.


32 posted on 12/26/2008 7:50:23 PM PST by HiJinx (~ Support our Troops ~ www.americasupportsyou.mil ~)
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To: HiJinx

It is 28 degrees in my backyard this morning.

I was able to cover the ficus but not the jacaranda. The winds died down which I discovered about 1AM.

I guess we will experience freezing temps. again tonight as per the weather forecasters.


33 posted on 12/27/2008 6:56:54 AM PST by hsmomx3 (GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Kirkwood

large part myth in that. Ice actually doesn’t stay at 32. It may start at 32 but anything frozen gets colder as the outside temperature gets colder.

Actually, growers cover their fruit trees to avoid this from happening because the ice freezes the fruit and that fruit is dead. You can’t sell frozen fruit unless it was already harvested. Of course, typically you don’t have fruit on your trees in December so it’s not a big worry.

In Florida, they will do anything to keep the trees from freezing if there is a late chill. They actually put parafin fire cans under each tree to try to keep the temperature up. Frozen fruit is no joke when you only get one harvest a year.


34 posted on 12/27/2008 11:48:49 AM PST by bpjam (GOP is 3 - 0 in elections after Nov 4th. You Can Smell the Rally !!!)
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To: SisterK
If your ornamental trees die, then it is time to replace with EDIBLE LANDSCAPING. Edible landscaping brings you closer to self sufficiency and economic protest. Besides, can you trust your food supply?

I have planted edible trees. Now I have to axe the ornamental ones to give them space
Mango banana oranges lime

35 posted on 12/31/2008 5:18:14 AM PST by dennisw (On the 31st floor a gold plated door won't keep out the Lord's burning rage ---FBB)
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To: dennisw

Hey you again. Its me again. What an advantage to live in the sunbelt (Phoenix?), that you may enjoy tropical fruits. Do you know anything about gardening in the higher elevations of Arizona? I am from there. Been gone a long time. But if I sell my farm here, I intend to relocate back to Arizona. I wonder if anyone has had success growing blueberries in Arizona? Also, if a person wants to acidify the soil, do they add sulfer? Here we add lime to sweeten the soil. I am going to have to learn how to garden all over again if I can relocate.


36 posted on 12/31/2008 2:04:18 PM PST by SisterK (pop culture is the opiate of the people)
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To: SisterK
Hey you again. Its me again. What an advantage to live in the sunbelt (Phoenix?), that you may enjoy tropical fruits. Do you know anything about gardening in the higher elevations of Arizona? I am from there. Been gone a long time. But if I sell my farm here, I intend to relocate back to Arizona. I wonder if anyone has had success growing blueberries in Arizona? Also, if a person wants to acidify the soil, do they add sulfer? Here we add lime to sweeten the soil. I am going to have to learn how to garden all over again if I can relocate.

I'm in FL
Soil is very aggravating to work with because it's sand with no clay at all to hold minerals etc
The higher elevations in Arizona/New Mexico are beautiful. I saw them with all the pine trees

They call it a New England type of forest and climate and terrain.
Climate and growing season must be roughly like in New York City
But sun is more intense due to elevation. So growing under glass during cold months works out better
I would have to read up on whether precipitation there is all year round or weather you have wet season and dry season

37 posted on 12/31/2008 3:06:47 PM PST by dennisw (On the 31st floor a gold plated door won't keep out the Lord's burning rage ---FBB)
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