Upcoming Winter

Glendale_gardener(9)November 7, 2013

Hope this finds everyone and their gardens well -

I've been searching through old threads regarding the hard freezes we had last winter (and previous winters as well). I'm curious for those of you who were hit real hard, how you're using those experiences to prepare differently for this winter and what those differences are?

I recently moved to the Phoenix area from Tucson and at the house we purchased here, there's evidence of the frost damage (several large trees cut to the ground�from the remnants looks to be a possible jacaranda and orchid tree --- although the orchid tree came back and is now more of a bush). Other evidence of the frost can be seen throughout the neighborhood (skeletons and half-skeletons of trees, etc).

I've never 'wintered' an orchid tree -- nor had I even seen one until we moved here -- so I'm real nervous about that one making it through (it looked as though before the freeze the tree was rather large, 10" to 12" diameter main trunk). Fortunately the tree began to grow shoots which the old owner allowed to become small branches and the tree is more a bush-like, multi-branched/trunked (?) creature now, with its longest branches/trunks (?) reaching about 9'-10' height. We also have a 24" box chitalpa, just put in this fall.

I know to have the lights and frost cloth/sheets on hand. I also saw in an old thread to water the day before the frost hits, as this is what farmers do to combat frost. Any other insights?

Also, how are your plants recovering from the last frost and did your Orchid Trees bloom after the frost hit them? I'm hoping to see this one bloom this spring, I've only seen pictures and I can't wait to see it in person.

Many thanks for your thoughts. Be well.


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You can wrap trunks in layers newspapers or cardboard and leave then that way for the winter to protect the trunk.

Severe frost use army blankets.

I doubt we will have another frost like last year for a while.

Watering the day before should be done in the morning as the water's purpose is to help the soil absorb and store the heat to let off in the evening under the frost cloth. Then at worst, to help prevent the roots from freezing if the protection fails in the early morning as the sun starts to peek up by its exothermic release as the water freezes.

You should pull all organic mulch 4' away from the tree to allow the soil to soak up the sun in the day, and then cover with frost cloth before the sun goes down. Plus it can get too hot under the frost cloth in some times of the winter if you leave it on all day (like you work).

I have been toying with the idea that you may instead be able to put a compost pile ringed around the tree, soak it and let the heat generated under a frost cloth keep the tree protected for days.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 8:27PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

The orchid tree that I have easily survived the freeze. Lost its leaves but came back strong in the spring time. Problem is that most people quickly think that their trees are dead and have them cut down, which is pretty sad especially how old some of the trees are.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 8:41PM
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