Impending gloom help

chappy56

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As we get ever closer to winter I wonder if any Nuts have ideas for warming beds for your trees.
I've not used them in the past but have acquired a number of tropicals this year.
Any ideas appreciated.
 

grouper52

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As we get ever closer to winter I wonder if any Nuts have ideas for warming beds for your trees.
I've not used them in the past but have acquired a number of tropicals this year.
Any ideas appreciated.

Tropicals should be indoors. Different species will die at different levels of cold temperature. I only have a few, but they come in when there is any chance of frost, or even temps in the 40s. For their health, BTW, you can completely defoliate ficus microcarpa before bringing it in, and if you want to you can do it again in the spring before putting it out. That will not only give it the health and stylistic benefits of defoliation, but also when the leaves come out again they will naturally acclimate to the "weather", indoors or out, rather than going through some sort of shock.

Semi-tropicals like Chinese elm - many varieties of which are VERY hardy for semi-tropicals, BTW - can be wintered in an unheated garage, but I don't know how certainly you can expect them to survive intact merely mulched in in a cold frame, given the severity of the winters you have there. A warming bed, therefore SOUNDS like a good idea, but I'm not sure of the practicalities of setting one up given the fact that regulating the overall temperature might be tricky. You'd essentially be setting up a little greenhouse, and that can be tricky in its own right. If you merely use a warming pad under the pot, without a cold frame around the tree, some Chinese elm can easily lose major branches or simply die during a cold snap or extended cold. You might look up my post from several months ago here on the Chinese elm that partially survived my three winters in Taos, NM. Granted, the extreme and rapid winter temperature shifts of that local would be unlikely in your climate, but I still would use an unheated garage there for Chinese elm. CE can also winter indoors as well, but they lose vigor and just look rather pasty, rather than vibrant, if allowed to do this year after year.

Hope that helps.
 

Bill S

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Chappy what kind of trops are you talking about?

Not so sure a warming bed/mat is what you want to work with, unless you can easily and fairly precisely control the temps the soil ends up. I keep mine ( ficus microcarpa, benjamina, fig leaf as well) on a table in front of a large east facing window with a 2 lamp florescent fixture over the top. Temps are typicall between 62 and 68 due to a few registers from the heating system warming the basement. If it were an unheated basement I would surround my set up w/ plastic sheeting, and add a "warming" appliance inside the "tent" created by the sheeting. The "warming" appliance could be many things, I used to use an old cable tv converter that stayed warm when on, this would add small amount of heat to the tent and this was suitable for all the plants I kept in it.

For every thing I have (above) including Serrissa I don't worry about hustleing them in and out until the temps are regular in the 40's at night, the Serrissa stay out for a light frost or 2 before they come in. The ones that go in and out stay in the inside(breezeway) at night and outside in a good sunny spot until daytime temps drop to the low 60's regular, then down to the basement overwintering spot.

By the way the above mistreatment of Serrisa is the trick everyone misses, these border on semi hardy, and everyone treats them like finicky trops.
 

rockm

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Don't put your tropicals on a windowsill in the winter. It's the worst place in the house for them. If you plan to use a window for light during the winter, place the trees four or five feet from it.

The immediate area around the window--including the sill--is subject to drastic temperature and humidity changes in the winter. A cold draft pushed by winter wind could severely damage, possibly kill, your tree quickly.

If you are using a heat mat, you will have to invest in a high intensity lighting fixture too. The higher you keep the temperature for overwintering tropicals like ficus and others, the more light they will require, as the warmer root system will be active and pushing new top growth. That growth requires alot of light to sustain.
 

Bill S

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Rock, I understand your statement re. on the window sill, it will definately get much colder there at night, my table stands off from the wall a bout 6-8" and allows the cold air to drop between the table and wall. It does still get a bit colder nearer the window, I keep the serrissa's on the window side of the table, with the more tender trops away. I have had my trees in that setup for the last four years, it works well, a bit of leggyness at worst for what ever growth happens during the winter, which is cured with spring prunings.
 

Bob

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For their health, BTW, you can completely defoliate ficus microcarpa before bringing it in, and if you want to you can do it again in the spring before putting it out. That will not only give it the health and stylistic benefits of defoliation, but also when the leaves come out again they will naturally acclimate to the "weather", indoors or out, rather than going through some sort of shock.

That's an interesting thought grouper. Would you say that it would be safe to do this with a Ficus nerifolia without giving it any special treatment? For the past two years mine have not taken well to the outdoor/indoor transition and I would be interested in trying this technique on one.

Chappy, forgive me if this is considered highjacking your thread. I'm not quite sure what constitutes a highjacking............

Bob
 

grouper52

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That's an interesting thought grouper. Would you say that it would be safe to do this with a Ficus nerifolia without giving it any special treatment? For the past two years mine have not taken well to the outdoor/indoor transition and I would be interested in trying this technique on one.

All I know from experience is microcarpus. You could try a few expendable branches on a tree, but tat would not be as good a test as a whole tree. Maybe try it on your least favorite, or create an air layer this season and try it next.
 

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