Author Topic: Cold weather insulation on trees  (Read 909 times)

Va Beach Grower

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Cold weather insulation on trees
« on: February 08, 2023, 09:15:35 PM »
I'm getting ahead of myself for next year, but never hurts to plan :)  I'm hoping to get some avocado's in the ground eventually and Va Beach weather typically we get a week or so at freezing temps, this year we had a few days in the 20's, but that only happens every few years.  I've seen some tents and people draping blankets around their trees and putting up non-led Xmas lights and things like that.  For many of the cold hardy avocado's I know the rootstock is not always cold hardy, and that seems to be the most important thing to protect.  So I'm wondering if anyone has taken some insulation from home depot or something and just wrapped it a few times around the trunk to keep warm, and then maybe just throw a blanket on top?  I've seen some elaborate structures w/frames and things like that, and honestly I'd like to avoid extension cords running from outlets to the trees.  I'm not super handy, so I guess looking for easy (and cost efficient) solutions to protect trees from the cold when they are in the ground and can't be taken inside.  Also something easier to put up and take down would be helpful, especially since my family doesn't share my newfound passion of fruit trees and gardening :)  Any solutions or re-directs to links I'd appreciate!

CeeJey

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Re: Cold weather insulation on trees
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2023, 09:40:53 PM »
Sure some people in even colder area will chime in shortly, but I've used bubble-wrap around banana trunks after watching some folks do that in Kentucky and Tennessee to preserve some growth, and have thought about trying that for some other stuff where trunk/root survival is paramount. We primarily use the frost cloth out here (along with people emergency-draping their stuff in sheets when a freeze is about to hit).

How tall is the tree? If it's less than 6' tall: I've protected mangos and some other stuff their first year out here by hammering a couple of 6' stakes from HD's garden department in around the tree and using either frost cloth or plastic painting drop "cloth" (just the big sheets of plastic from the paint department trimmed with scissors) stapled to the stakes. Plastic might need to be vented during the day if the tree is completely covered though (otherwise it creates ideal conditions for fungus), porous frost cloth doesn't. Ideally you don't want this kind of insulation touching the parts of the tree you want to insulate if it's frosting out.

We also dump a bunch of tree mulch on the root area going into winter to add some additional insulation to the roots (edit: but that said, we have winters that are on the dry side; ymmv in terms of mulching the base when it's wet/snowing out)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2023, 09:43:48 PM by CeeJey »

bovine421

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Re: Cold weather insulation on trees
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2023, 09:47:03 PM »

Trunk Wrap still have it on. Will probably take off in March. Amazon
« Last Edit: February 08, 2023, 09:48:54 PM by bovine421 »
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drymifolia

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Re: Cold weather insulation on trees
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2023, 12:36:43 AM »
I haven't tried wrapping avocado trunks, but I've tried an assortment of covers for small avocado trees. Large upside-down terracotta pots work pretty well for small trees, even without a heat source (but add an insulated layer to cover the drain holes, like a blanket and plastic bag). But this frost cover is probably the best I've tried, and I've used it both with and without a light bulb underneath:


I bought it here, though unless you get a free shipping deal it's probably not worth it:
https://www.greenhousemegastore.com/products/winter-frost-covers

Va Beach Grower

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Re: Cold weather insulation on trees
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2023, 07:03:26 AM »
Sure some people in even colder area will chime in shortly, but I've used bubble-wrap around banana trunks after watching some folks do that in Kentucky and Tennessee to preserve some growth, and have thought about trying that for some other stuff where trunk/root survival is paramount. We primarily use the frost cloth out here (along with people emergency-draping their stuff in sheets when a freeze is about to hit).

How tall is the tree? If it's less than 6' tall: I've protected mangos and some other stuff their first year out here by hammering a couple of 6' stakes from HD's garden department in around the tree and using either frost cloth or plastic painting drop "cloth" (just the big sheets of plastic from the paint department trimmed with scissors) stapled to the stakes. Plastic might need to be vented during the day if the tree is completely covered though (otherwise it creates ideal conditions for fungus), porous frost cloth doesn't. Ideally you don't want this kind of insulation touching the parts of the tree you want to insulate if it's frosting out.

We also dump a bunch of tree mulch on the root area going into winter to add some additional insulation to the roots (edit: but that said, we have winters that are on the dry side; ymmv in terms of mulching the base when it's wet/snowing out)

The tree is small, I have a 3 ft. Avocado, then some other rootstock that I'm grafting onto (which will stay in pots through next year and I can bring inside if cold).  I use the clear painters plastic as a poor mans greenhouse for my winter carrots, so I guess I could just throw that over top, and maybe then even throw another blanket on  top.  I guess it sounds like most people just use what they have around and make it work.  I just have some bacon rootstock avocado's that I know will freeze before the Mexicola graft, so I figured the trunk is the most important, and saw that silver pipe insulation which is padded and looks waterproof, so I wasn't sure if there is a problem with "wrapping the trunk", like if it helped spread disease or something, or if I can just wrap that up pretty high through the winter, even if it's only in the 40's, I didn't know if there was a problem with essentially leaving that as a full winter accessory, even on warm days, or if it eventually becomes a problem over time.  My hope is obviously to have trees that are too big to cover, but I guess you have to deal w/current problems before future ones!


thesimsdude

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Re: Cold weather insulation on trees
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2023, 09:26:08 AM »
I use plumbing insulation tubing on young trees, you can find at almost any hardware store, Place it around the trunk and then leave it, its easy, cheap and worked well for me, the material looks similar to a pool noodle.

Va Beach Grower

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Re: Cold weather insulation on trees
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2023, 09:39:54 AM »
I use plumbing insulation tubing on young trees, you can find at almost any hardware store, Place it around the trunk and then leave it, its easy, cheap and worked well for me, the material looks similar to a pool noodle.

That's great, I was thinking something like that.  Now this looks exactly the same as a pool noodle (which I have some of those), so can I use a pool noodle, or is this actually special insulation, as it looks the same.  Is there such a think as "over wrapping"?  For example, if I put a plumbing insulator noodle and then wrapped a burlap bag around as well?  I figure there is a law of diminishing returns, but also probably overdoing it if it's suffocating or something?

 

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