Freezing bulbs: Duration vs. low temperature

patty allen prallen2@peoplepc.com
Tue, 15 Jan 2013 05:51:39 PST

MITCH,
AS YOU SAID, YOU GUYS DON'T OFTEN GET TEMPS LIKE THAT, BUT INSTEAD OF JUST PUTTING A TARP OVER YOUR POTS, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER TO HAVE PUT SOMETHING FAIRLY THICK, FLANNEL SHEETS, LIGHT BLANKETS BEFORE YOU ADDED THE TARP TO KEEP THE COLD TARP FROM TOUCHING YOUR PLANTS/BULBS.
WE DON'T OFTEN GET TEMPS LIKE THAT DOWN HERE IS SOUTHEAST TEXAS, BUT A YEAR OR SO AGO, WE GOT DOWN TO 17 DEGREES AND THAT IS WHAT I DID TO PROTECT MINE. MAYBE THIS IS SOMETHING YOU CAN KEEP IN THE BACK OF YOU MIND FOR THE "NEXT" TIME!

WE ARE HAVING DAYS/NIGHTS IN THE 30'S/ NIGHTS TO 40'S -50'S THROGH THE DAYLIGHT HOURS FOR THE NEXT WEEK, THEN HERE COMES ANOTHER WARM SPELL!!

HAPPY GARDENING
PATTY


-----Original Message-----
>From: Michael Mace <michaelcmace@gmail.com>
>Sent: Jan 14, 2013 7:57 PM
>To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
>Subject: [pbs] Freezing bulbs: Duration vs. low temperature
>
>In California we're currently going through one of the nastier winter
>freezes we've had in a few years.  The overnight low last night in my part
>of San Jose was probably under 20 F (-7C) at dawn, and when I got up in the
>morning there was more than half an inch of ice on the puddle of rainwater
>in my wheelbarrow.  That probably sounds like a nice spring morning to those
>of you who live in places that have real winters, but for coastal
>California, it's serious cold.
>
> 
>
>Yesterday I put a clear plastic tarp over my most exposed bulb pots, along
>with a string of Christmas lights to add a little warmth.  It looked festive
>when I went to bed last night, but this morning despite the tarp and the
>lights the soil on top of the bulb pots was frozen rock hard.  There was a
>fuzz of hoarfrost on many of the bulb leaves, a sight that would normally be
>beautiful but that made me feel a little bit sick in this context.  I
>worried that I had done serious damage to my collection.  However.
>
> 
>
>As usual for cold snaps in California, the weather was completely clear
>today.  The sun melted the frost on everything it touched, and by afternoon
>the pots were totally defrosted.  And the bulbs look just fine.  One pot of
>Tritonia crocata shows moderate damage, and a Brunsvigia marginata growing
>in the ground has some tip burn on its leaves, but those are literally the
>only problems I can find.  Lachenalias, Oxalis, Amaryllids.even the
>first-year seedlings look fine.
>
> 
>
>Other things in my garden are not as happy.  There's serious freeze damage
>on a coral tree, a Chorisia, and some sages.  My Bougainvillea is probably
>dead (again).  But the bulbs look happy.
>
> 
>
>This matches a pattern that I think I've seen in other years.  Freezes that
>last only overnight don't seem to do serious damage to most of my bulbs.
>I'm sure there is some level of overnight cold that would kill them, but I
>haven't hit it.  What seems to do serious damage is sub-freezing
>temperatures that last more than a day.  Based on previous cold snaps, a
>full 24-hour period of 27 F seems to do a lot more harm than an overnight
>low of 20 F.
>
> 
>
>I'm curious to know what other folks have seen.  Do you think a very cold
>night is less damaging than a prolonged period just below freezing?  And
>what low temperature do you start to see freeze damage at?
>
> 
>
>Mike
>
>San Jose, CA
>
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