Major Problem!

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Major Problem!

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:27 am

I'm screwed and about sick about my trees!

I've been working on my new winter storage, but with other activities I haven't finished. It is still very drafty. Outside it is supposed to get down to 1*F and I'm afraid some of my deciduous trees won't do well. Everything is inside the shelter and on shelves. I'm thinking of putting them on screen wire and mulching them on the tables. I will be heading out in a few minutes to turn on a shop light aimed towards the floor under the trees.

Not sure what else to do?

Jay

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Major Problem!

Post  Guest on Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:48 am

Hello Jay. Long time no speak. Most deciduous, should be ok down to that temp with protection or cover. Your light should give sufficient heat too. Trees are a lot tougher than you think.

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Major Problem

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:55 am

I have lost leaders in similar situations, but rarely a whole tree. When I used to winter my trees in the garage, when the weather forecast went below 5 F, -15 C, I simply brought them all inside overnight. Keeps one from owning too many trees. The finite shelf space in my sunporch has the same effect, although I have occasionally wintered the overflow on the boot tray.
Iris

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Re: Major Problem!

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:32 pm

I hope you are both right. Much of the US is being slammed with an early and unexpected cold snap.

All of my non-tropical trees are currently in this shed. Up until last night, the top of one end was open and the door at the other end was not yet installed. I managed to get a cover over the door and put up some plywood on the opposite peak to cut down on the wind movement. Some of the conifers were to be left outside and mulched up against the building, but I never got to it.

Jay



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Re: Major Problem!

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:23 pm

Your conifers should be fine. I'm pretty sure the rest will too. If you have any Trident Maples, give them the best sheltered part or move indoors temporarily.

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Major problem!

Post  Herb Gustafson on Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:53 pm

I could never cast the first stone when it comes to being prepared for winter, but I would like to share something that saved me a lot of time,trouble and worry. It's a simple thermostat in your bonsai shelter. Most thermostats operate poorly or not at all in the cold, but I located an inexpensive one in a Graingers catalog some years back. This simple device turned on the electricity beyond an extension cord when the temperature fell to 34 degrees F.. I would set up an extension cord long enough to reach my bonsai winter area without a connection outside in the rain or snow, then plug in the thermostat set to 34 degrees F., then beyond that, plug in a socket strip to which is plugged a small 1200 watt heater and four 60 watt bulbs elevated off the ground and below the benches.
Then forget about winter coming. You don't even need to check the weather report. You look outside; if the lights are on, the temperature is close to freezing, but you visually know the thermostat is working. By the end of winter, two or three of the light bulbs might have burned out and that is why I install four. Simple but effective system.
Herb Gustafson

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Re: Major Problem!

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:24 pm

Thanks Gustafson:

I have two thermostatic outlet adapters. They are made to automatically turn on at 35*F and shut off at 45*F. Forgot about them. I'll have to find them tonight and hook up a light and heater. You can find them for $15 to $20. I place the outlet 3/4s of the way up and the heater toward the bottom.



Thanks again for reminding me!

Jay

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Re: Major Problem!

Post  EdMerc on Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:38 pm

Jay, I feel your pain.

Last night we had the coldest temperature in Florida history since 1964, and wouldn't you know that's the night my heaters turned off in the middle of the night.

I added an extra heating unit last minute because I knew that the single heater I had been getting by with would not be able to keep it warm enough. Well, it seems that second heater cause a breaker to flip at some point and instead of a greenhouse I ended up with an outdoor freezer.

At this point I don't know if any of my tropicals will survive this unfortunate event.

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Re: Major Problem!

Post  John Quinn on Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:45 pm

Herb, I use the same type device to control the 1200 W heater in my small Rion greenhouse. It is quite reliable, adjustable and accurate to within a few degrees:
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_524747_524747

Ed, I have also done the same thing but realized it before a problem ensued...I ran the second heater via an extension cord plugged into a GFCI receptacle on a separate breaker box. I may do that again tonight...forecast is for 15F tonight. It was 16.9 last night and greenhouse got down to a minimum of 46F.


Last edited by John Quinn on Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:22 am; edited 1 time in total

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Major Problem

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:01 pm

Jay Gaydosh wrote:
I have two thermostatic outlet adapters. They are made to automatically turn on at 35*F and shut off at 45*F.
Jay
They are called Thermocubes and are available at farm supply dealers. Mine is plugged into the wall of my sunporch (with a night light on it) & connects to an oscillating heater. The difficulty is that where the plants are would go way over 45 F long before the outside wall. I am planning to put it on a little extension cord so I won't have to monitor so closely.
I wish they had one with a range of 30 F to 40 F, but other ranges available are much too high or too low.
Iris

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Heater Element for Winter Storage

Post  jalbright on Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:15 am

I recommend a ceramic reptile heater rather than ordinary light bulbs - they last far longer and are much less fragile. I use a 100W Zoo Med from Amazon.

I also use a Ranco greenhouse thermostat purchased over the web but others have mentioned alternatives. I build a box (this year is about 48" x 32" x 24") from 1 inch thick styrofoam wall insulation (some brands are blue, some pink). With the current weather around 5F-15F, the heater comes on for just about 1hr per day, so heating cost is essentially nothing. I also have a fan that comes on whenever the heater is on. Total cost is leass than $100.

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Re: Major Problem!

Post  NeilDellinger on Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:39 am

Cry me a river! I just moved from zone 7b Tulsa to zone 5 chicagoland. Its -3F right now in Geneva and 27f in my grarage! Its not well insulated, but so far 27f is the lowest its gone. I did purchase an 800w hallogen radiant heater. These warm objects in the surrounding area as opposed to simply warming the air.

My bonsai teacher keeps his trees at just above freezing, I am sure I've read Bill Valavanis keeps his trees at a steady 28F. As I understand it another friend in the Chicagoland area keeps most conifers outdoors, as for deciduous.....his greenhouse heaters are not set to switch on until it hits 20F.

The thing most of these strategies have in common is 1) stable temps 2) trees are out of the wind.

Read up on chicken coops...those guys are very inventive and hey, if their set up can keep a chicken alive up here surely a tree will be fine Laughing

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Re: Major Problem!

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