Happy New Year!
My sheets, covering my plants, were damp and froze. Is this going to make things worse? They felt dry but must have been damp.
What do you think will happen? We changd the coverings to dry ones about 7:00 this a.m.
I live in Sun Lakes and find that a thin covering of a sheet is not enough if the temps go down below about 30 degrees. You should double cover or buy frost covering if you want to be sure they don't freeze. We are supposed to have very cold temps in Chandler on January 10th, 11th, 12th, and maybe more !
Yeah - not looking forward to next week...I'm doing Styrofoam and frost cloths...and a sheet scattered here and there for good measure. This will be the truest test of my 2012 Brazilian Cactus Experiment!
I'm not looking forward to this weekend's temps. So far I've been just covering my plumeria with layers of parachute. Should probably go ahead and trim off the remaining leaves so that I can insulate the growing tips. Does anyone know if Christmas lights give off enough heat to be worthwhile to use at the base of plants. I've used the old fashioned kind that have screw in bulbs and get hot, but they're not rated for outdoors and I hesitate to use them unless I can protect the wires.
This weekend is supposed to be very cold, but if you have tecoma stans or bougie's that have been chewed up by those dang bugs, it might be worthwhile to leave a branch or a plant uncovered and see if they survive the freeze... the plant and the bug! The Extension Agent at the Cooperative, with the Master Gardeners, is interested in any results folks might see, covered or uncovered.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
The plants did survive the damp clothes.
Now I am worried about the weekend. Jan 11, 12, 13 plus
Crista and Minime I think I am probably closest to you.
I almost lost my ficus in that 2007 freeze. Is that the one with three days about 27 degrees?
They were at least 10 years old at that time and froze down about a foot from the crotch. They recovered fine but I was sure worried. We put some christmas lights in that area today. I hope they will help a little. I do wrap the trunks but they are way too large to cover. We are watering today and then that is all the water I will give until after the freeze. I hope they make it.
Today we also picked the oranges, the lemons are not near ready and I don't care that much about the grapefruit. These trees are at least 15 years old. I did get some large 10 x 20 freeze cloths I am just going to drape on the canapy where I can reach with the ladder.
Do you all water your citrus during a freeze. Normally I don't do anything with the citrus but this time I think it is going to be bad.
I also have a Chinese Elm in the front that is just two years old that I really want to cover.
I will be moving the pots in the garage and trying to cover everything that I can. Also I do run the pool and cover the pool equipment but leave a little gap for venting.
This freeze I am covering the pipes into the house and the sprinkler pipes. I just don't want anything to burst.
Normally I am not so concerned but this freeze I am for some reason.
Where I am in Mesa the weather forecast is really variable depending on which service you choose. Some say 3-4 days of 27F and below in a row, others barely have it freeze 1 of those days. I guess I will prepare for the worst. As you say running the pool pump, making sure any exposed water pipe away from the house is empty. In previous freezes the faucets attached to the wall of the house were fine.
Moving any potted frost sensitive plants under the patio or into the garage, cover the rest with moving blankets. Unfortunately my lemon tree is so large (about two stories) that there is no covering that, but on the positive side, very little fruit this year. So that tree will have to manage.
Letting the Tecomas and Bougainvilleas fend for themselves, they will be ugly afterwards and will need to be pruned back, but they are sort of ugly after the insect infestation (which I managed to mostly halt) anyway. A couple of years ago, I had to prune both the Tecomas and Bougies back pretty much till the hard wood and all came back just fine.
Mostly worried about a bunch of plants that are flowering way out of season (about 2-3 months early) after that really warm Fall, some are small cacti I can just move, but I have a few aloes that are putting out their flower stalks, those that are already blooming will just have to deal, but some of the other ones are quite large so hard to cover effectively. On top of that I have a 7.5 foot tall Aloe hercules that I think needs to be covered, but I just do not know how. I guess this is when I find out how it deal with a serious freeze (two years ago it was still small enough to cover).
For the rest I am trying to be smart these days and only plant things that I know will be able to deal with temperatures down to at least the low 20s and keep anything else in pots I can move on to the patio and cover or move into the garage.
For the larger citrus, you can water them the night before, flood them, and the water actually helps keep the temperature up. I have a huge blood orange and it has done very well through all the freezes we have had over the last 20 years by doing this.
Yeah this really does stink and it certainly makes for a ton of work. I wanted to share some of the things I do which might help you out if this gets as bad as they say it will.
1 - Go get frost blankets now! They are selling out everywhere so it may be too late already but try offbeat HW stores.
- Buy white ones if you can (over green) as they let more morning light in making your plants happier. This means you can leave them on for longer amounts of time (days). Green makes it dark and cold which is not a good combo for plants.
- I have found the 3M to be the best but there are many others. I greatly prefer these over cotton sheets for many reasons - particularly if there is a risk on rain.
2 - If you have a few prized plants I would go get cheap aluminum clip-on lights ($14) and pick up 125W Brooding ($4) or 250W heat lamps ($5) for them. Be careful to ready the spec on the clip-on bases. They are either 125W max or 300W max depending on size. I buy a few every year and now I have a small army of these things. They work really well and the bulbs seem to last forever if you are gentle with them. Christmas lights IMO do not kick off enough heat unless they are the very large bulb type. It is important to face these at a rock below the plant or off some distance or you will cook you plant with heat. (see photos) You then wrap them in a frost cloth so that you make a tent that has heat generated from the bottom which flows up. This warms the base and the top of the plant and the cloth keeps the heat in making for a dramatically different temperature.
3 - Get garden support stakes. The stakes take the frost blankets off of the tops of the plants so that they do not contact the cloth. This prevents tips from freezing and getting damaged. I find this really helps. You want to avoid the plants touching the top of the cloth as much as possible. You can also use them to hold the slip-on lights so they stay the right distance away from your plants to warm them but not burn.
4 - Use old fashion cloths pins and rocks to secure your blankets down. After waking to find the wind blew off my frost blankets, I have learned this one well. Wrap them tight and secure them down. The wind has an amazing ability to take your blankets you thought were secure and aim them right at the bottom of your pool. :)
5 - Wrap the trunks of sensitive plants/trees at the base in addition to the frost blanket covering. This is VERY important with larger Aloe trees like aloe dichotoma. I do not grow ficus but I imagine this would help them as well.
Good luck to everyone and please share any other tips that you have found to help.
Flood them the night that it is going to freeze, which should be for the next 3-4 days, if the weather people can all agree. I use NOAA http://www.noaa.gov since it is supposed to be the best one.
I flooded mine last night and will flood again tomorrow night, then Monday night. If the ground around the tree is moist, it will not radiate as much heat at night, than soil that is dry. During the day, the moist soil might absorb another .5 - 1 degree more heat, which will slowly cool, releasing that small amount of heat up through the tree canopy, which could be the difference in losing the tree or having it survive the freeze. I water everything before it freezes, then use sheets to cover those which I can (are small enough) and drag everything else under the patio and carport. Some thing, alas, are too big and must fend for themselves.
ps. this is an interesting link, if you go to data access, the soil temps are something that impact frost/freeze issues with plants... http://ag.arizona.edu/azmet/
Frogymon- I am at Country Club / McKellips and the low here was 40. Amazing what micro climates we create can do to temperatures. 4 ponds always make the difference between it getting too hot and getting too cold in the summer and winter respectively.
I agree about the micro climates. Some parts of my yard are much warmer than others. We only got to 40 last night also.
I have been out covering and putting in lights. I need to do more but I need to take a rest.
Even if it doesn't get as cold as they say I would rather be safe than sorry. The big ficus I just can't save the tops but I know that I can cut them way back and they will come back. If I can just save he basic trunk and up a little bit they will come back. At least they did the last two times. I figure all it takes is my time so it is worth it.
Froggymon what is your location?
Thanks also for NOAA.
Good luck everyone. Let me know your temps in the AM.
Do you know if the citrus needs to be picked? Seems like when they had a freeze in Florida a few years ago the orange market was affected - something about the quality of the fruit degrading if it freezes.
I've had pretty good success flooding under trees to increase the air temp. This is what they do down in Yuma in the orange groves, and are doing the same in the lettuce fields. I was surprised that they also use black plastic over the lettuce!
I've got three plumeria that have gotten about three feet tall and branched that I've left in the ground the past two winters, and am now debating about pulling them up to bring inside. Opinions?
I'm in the Fiesta Mall area between Southern and Broadway, just east of Longmore. The front yard must stay warmer than the back, due to the road, since there was ice in the water dish I put out there for the wild birds.
Hope this helps although I may be a bit late in posting.
Shiver, shiver...27 here. We're headed to the hot tub though. Nothing like enjoying your morning java on a frosty morning in a steamy tub!! Thanks to the buddy who practically 'donated' the tub! You know who you are...
My solution is to stay inside where it's toasty and wait and see which, if any, plants make it through. I have high hopes that most will as the previous years' freezes have really weeded them out. I WILL finally have plants that can tolerate the heat and the cold. Although there may only be 1 or 2. :-( I'll just plant a lot of them. :-)
'Only' got down to 30 here... everything that would break my heart if froze (and in pots) were moved onto patio and carport. Everything else was flooded and/or covered with sheets. Some things not covered- only so many sheets. I am sure there will be losses, but that is, as Judy notes, one way to thin things out. 10:15 and 41 on the west facing patio - still in shade.
All the birds did ok with the lights on and warm eggs/corn/veggies for breakfast. Keep their protein levels up and light to eat by and they do just fine. The wild birds have eaten every piece of the suet I have, so off to the Wild Bird Store and Mesa Feed Barn for some more food.
Here in Dobson Ranch (Guadalupe at the 101 is the closest intersection) it got down to 24 in the back yard (not sure what time), but it is only 33 now (sensor is in the shade). Have not really taken a peak at the plants yet. Letting it warm up a bit!
We were 30 this a.m. but I am worried. My ficus are brown already down to the lights we put in the tree. Maybe they were a foot from the trunk. These things are 15 years old and really big. I am just on the save the tree at all at the moment.
We are watering the citrus now. I hope they make it through this freeze. I have two navel oranges that I love. The lemon and grapefruit are more exposed.
I've got a jacaranda that's frozen down twice before in the freezes, and now is an interesting multi-trunk tree - would hate to have to chop it down to a foot tall again! I trickled the water under the tree last night and was pleasantly surprised that it looked pretty good today when so many other plants look toasted. So, I'm heading out to get the water started again.
I hate winter too Mimmie8484.
It was 30 here at 6:30. At 8:00 it was 28-29. I don't know if it will go down any more.
I did put an extra cover on the catcus, aloe and succulents last night. I hope it helped.
Out here in Sun Lakes it was 24 this morning on my south facing porch. I covered everything I could, potted plants and in ground, but I am afraid it was so cold so long that they will be frozen even with protection. I sure hate winter too!
Got down to 20 in the south facing front yard, probably in the teens in the back. The canna are looking sad, the growth tips on the lemon on burnt and the succulents in the wheelbarrow garden all look like they froze, even being covered. On the plus side, the apples are definitely getting some good chill hours.
Here in Dobson Ranch Mesa, it got as low 22F in the backyard, and was 31F at 9.30 this morning. The thermometer on the outside wall of the house did not go below 42F though, that is bad insulation for you. But it helped the cacti and plants on the back porch stay above freezing and that is good. Looks like tonight will be another really cold one, forecast now says colder than last night, sigh...
On of my big 6 foot Opuntia ficus-indica's has become floppy, which is not a good sign...
Tecomas look like I expected them to look: terrible, as do the Bougies.
A friend had a water pipe burst, now you think you should know to cover unprotected pipes, however this pipe was on the roof and she did not know it was there. Water pipes on the roof???? Not pretty.
Was kinda lucky, I guess, was only 29 here last night. Nothing looks worse than it did from Fri night, so fingers crossed. Of course some plants are covered and won't be uncovered for a couple days, so we will have to see.
Funny how the coldest time is right before sunrise. You know what they say- it is always coldest before the dawn - there is a reason for that saying.
At 5:30 it was 29 degrees, at 6:45 it was 27 degrees. Some more sad things and some even sadder things, not much to do about it, no use crying over frozen spilled milk. Only tonight and tomorrow night to suffer through these horrid temps, then things will warm up a little, hopefully.
We were 15 degrees yesterday morning in the yard but 22 on the patio!! I have quite a few casualties but I am hoping this wipes out the scale and white fly infestation I was bombarded with this past year
I agree...my mantra has been: "The freeze also kills bad bugs!" This summer we had many more black widow spiders, in addition to white flies, grape leaf skeletonizers, and the lovely caterpillars that tore through the tecomas and bouganvillas, after the mild winter this time last year.
It did not get as cold as the other nights in the back yard, only 26F, despite the reports that said it was the coldest night, microclimates rule. Things looked more or less status quo this morning, but this evening I came home to find that one of the 7ft Opuntoa ficus-indica's in the front yard had broken in two... so now I got 3 of them a 7 footer, and 2 ~ 4 footers (that is how I ended up with 2 in the first place). You can see the big prickly pears get 'floppy' around the neighborhood. I had put in a long stake for support, but it was too flimsy. One more night, but as far as I can tell not as cold as the last few nights.
I've been too chicken to take the covers off my plants to see how they've fared...I'll do that tomorrow when it warms up and looks like I can keep them off for good (fingers crossed). Uncovered tender stuff is toast, of course. My jacaranda is soooo soaked from leaving the sprinkler on underneath I probably won't have to water for months...I know I will, it's just the ground is so soggy right now.
"Only" 32 degrees this morning at 6 a.m. I see a heat wave in our future. Okay, maybe just up to normal temps... So many of my plants look trashed, maybe they can bounce back if it will stay warm enough. Some are goners.
Well my landscape is fried. But it was 50 today. 3 days in the lows of mid 20 was not pretty. I have only looked at the landscape from a far. Saturday I will walk it but I know it will not be pretty. Good luck everyone. Sharon
My cannas are mostly toast, the lemon looks poor, the habaneros took damage even under a blanket and the red salvia may be done for; same for the Takanotsume peppers and most of the succulents in the barrow out back. Everything on the porch did well.
Did not kill the grasshoppers - in fact I think they are BIGGER. And now think the straw bale that has been sitting under the lady banks hedge for a couple of years, and that I pulled apart to mulch the tomato beds is full of the *&*%#( creeps. All I managed to accomplish is to transport them, with no effort on their part, to the best tomato bed for spring. Jeez. This farming is fraught with things that can go wrong. :-|
My garden is mostly mush right now.
I did find it amusing when I get up in the morning and it was in the high twenties and I thought that felt much warmer.
Really who in their right mind think the high twenty's is warmer?