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Bazza

Heating pads/blankets to protect heart from a freeze - or incandescent lights?

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Bazza

Been thinking about this for a while after losing some nice palms back in 2010 and now I have 3 gorgeous Coconuts I do not want to lose. Plus others, but the Coconuts are the signature palms on my property.

I purchased (3) heating pads that are 12"x24" to wrap around the hearts, but now looking at them I think they are too small to really be effective, especially if we get a real hard freeze event. So now I'm going to look at getting some electric blankets. The regular 120v ones like you use in your house. I would cover them with a tarp in case of wet weather. But I've also noticed the heating pads intended for travel that plug into a vehicle's cigarette light and they are 12v. I wonder if I could splice those into my landscape lighting. But also wonder if they would be strong enough when compared to a household 120v unit.

I know there are some folks who use incandescent lights to help with this also. They seem to put off heat and if wrapped with insulation to retain the heat, perhaps that would be more practical. I don't know.

I'm not going to just sit back and do nothing. Hopefully we will be fortunate and get another winter season without a freeze event. But with 2 more months to go - I want to be prepared, just in case.

Would appreciate any thoughts and input from those who have experience or feedback on my idea(s). Thanks!

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Brad52

Are the plants too large to build a tent over?  Some years back in Indiana I had a plastic style hoop house for wintering potted bamboo inventory and I used a small ceramic style space heater inside that worked up until temps went near or beyond subzero.  My hoop house was 12'x20' with a double layer of plastic and air blowing in between layers which helped but I was surprised how well that little heater would add a few degrees above outdoor temps.  So I filed away that in a smaller application for short duration less FRIGID temps it should work well.

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Allen

I don't think heating pads are your answer.  Heating pads may turn off unexpectedly or may not work if they get wet.  What temps do you want to keep the palms at and what size are they?   What lows are you anticipating?  

Edited by Allen

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Bazza

For those asking how large the palms are I'm trying to protect.........see the Coconut Palm to the left of my front gate? Well that's one of them. And there are two more the same size behind the Screw Pine.

It would be important to know how much warmth an electric blanket could generate. I was thinking maybe a thermometer - the kind you use when you cook a turkey in the oven - the kind with the remote probe/sensor - use that to monitor the temps inside and underneath the blanket next to the heart so you'd know what you have. Do a "dry run" on a cold night. To get one that records would be even better! Come to think of it....I already have one of those and it came with three remote sensors. Maybe use both meat thermometer and one of those. :P

I'm going to hit up the goodwill places around town and see if they have any electric blankets available.

In my area when we get a hard freeze, it's usually only one or two nights. Why not create something to get your babies through those short durations of deadly temperatures?

I also need to experiment with a string of incandescent lights. Having a measuring device like a thermometer would really help with analysis......

 

IMG_0349.thumb.JPG.74c77c764e5b566ed4bf0c6887869e4b.JPG

Edited by Bazza

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Tropicdoc

Electric blankets sound like a fire hazard. People have had success with pipe heating cable. I use the self regulating kind

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Allen

Incandescent Christmas lights wrapped inside burlap or frost cloth will raise the temp under them 10-20 degrees easy.  You can put a remote temp sensor in there to see what the temp is from inside your house.  (2) - 100 strands of mini incandescent bulbs will be all you need for the crown area and maybe some of the trunk. 

IMG_1216.JPG

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Bazza
1 hour ago, Tropicdoc said:

Electric blankets sound like a fire hazard. People have had success with pipe heating cable. I use the self regulating kind

Thank you! Your post is exactly why I started this thread. I had no idea such a thing existed! A quick Google search and I found this one on Amazon:

Wrap-On Pipe Heating Cable - 3-Feet, 120 Volt, Built-in Thermostat, Low Wattage - 31003

Sounds easier to use than an electric blanket. Will look into - thanks again! :shaka-2:

 

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Bazza
13 minutes ago, Allen said:

Incandescent Christmas lights wrapped inside burlap or frost cloth will raise the temp under them 10-20 degrees easy.  You can put a remote temp sensor in there to see what the temp is from inside your house.  (2) - 100 strands of mini incandescent bulbs will be all you need for the crown area and maybe some of the trunk. 

IMG_1216.JPG

Thanks for the useful input, Allen. I have the same setup but only a 3 station unit. It's nice to have the min-max capability!

I was wondering about the Christmas lights too but had never tried them. I wonder how those would compare to the pipe heating cable as mentioned above.

 

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Allen
9 hours ago, Bazza said:

Thanks for the useful input, Allen. I have the same setup but only a 3 station unit. It's nice to have the min-max capability!

I was wondering about the Christmas lights too but had never tried them. I wonder how those would compare to the pipe heating cable as mentioned above.

 

2 strands of 100 mini bulbs is 80 watts.  Look for the comparable cable needed to produce 80 watts and that will be roughly the same amount of heat.  Total watts is the approximate heat generated.   The lights will be much cheaper and easier to use.    Both options will need to be wrapped to retain heat.     The lights are a little hard to find now after Christmas.  PM me if you want a link to some.

Edited by Allen
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redant

,blanket, then Christmas lights, then blanket and you're good. Been seeing some people selling grove heater (smudge pots) used on FB for about $100. one or two of those and you should be good.

Edited by redant
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Bazza
4 hours ago, Allen said:

2 strands of 100 mini bulbs is 80 watts.  Look for the comparable cable needed to produce 80 watts and that will be roughly the same amount of heat.  Total watts is the approximate heat generated.   The lights will be much cheaper and easier to use.    Both options will need to be wrapped to retain heat.     The lights are a little hard to find now after Christmas.  PM me if you want a link to some.

Thank you.

I have on hand a bunch of the old C9 size Christmas lights......boxes of them - all multi-color. Those would work as well, wouldn't they?

I stopped using them a few years ago and went to LED but still have the old ones.

They are like these.......

s-l500.jpg

 

Edited by Bazza

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Allen
18 minutes ago, Bazza said:

Thank you.

I have on hand a bunch of the old C9 size Christmas lights......boxes of them - all multi-color. Those would work as well, wouldn't they?

I stopped using them a few years ago and went to LED but still have the old ones.

They are like these.......

 

I don't use them for many reasons but some people do.  Mini bulbs won't burn palm tissue or have as big of a fire risk,  these larger bulbs burn much hotter and will singe green palm tissue if touching and will have to be watched much closer if wrapping in something because of their high heat potential.   I would only wrap these in breathable frost cloth and have a temp gauge in there if you wanted to use them.  I only advise the mini bulbs in general, especially if wrapping the palm with lights then wrapping something over them.  

Edited by Allen
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Bazza
52 minutes ago, Allen said:

I don't use them for many reasons but some people do.  Mini bulbs won't burn palm tissue or have as big of a fire risk,  these larger bulbs burn much hotter and will singe green palm tissue if touching and will have to be watched much closer if wrapping in something because of their high heat potential.   I would only wrap these in breathable frost cloth and have a temp gauge in there if you wanted to use them.  I only advise the mini bulbs in general, especially if wrapping the palm with lights then wrapping something over them.  

OK thanks - good reasoning there, Allen.

I pulled out a string of my C9's and plugged them in and indeed they heat up fast! Maybe if I wrap my tree first with a blanket and then wrap with the lights and then something else over that - frost cloth or another blanket, it would be OK. I will play with it and also use a thermometer and see how it goes.

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Bill H2DB

   This coming weekend and a day or 2 beyond can give you a good test run.  

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Tropicdoc

Yes c9 will burn palms. Self regulating heat cables only heat up when the temp drops at that section of cable. That’s a little different than the heat cables with a thermostat

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Bazza

Started experimenting tonight.

Set a temp monitor on the trunk followed by a thin blanket & sheet and then wrapped a 25' string of C9 Christmas lights around that.

Did that around 5pm.

I also have a second temp monitor about 4 feet away.

So far the temp is reading 45F outside and 53F inside my lighting/blanket wrap.

That's an 8 degree difference.

Will post more info later along with photos - for now just wanted to provide an update.

Next I will add another blanket/sheet over the lights and see if that increases the temps even more.

Edited by Bazza

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Bazza

Good Sunday morning my friends.......

According to my thermometer probes the low here last night was 34 and the lowest it got inside my heating wrap next to the palm's heart was only 48.

That's a 14 degree difference - a pleasant surprise in effectiveness, given the minimal effort made for this process.

I will continue to experiment and report my findings here.

Photos below showing my 2 temperature probes used (#3 was outside and #1 was inside the wrap next to the trunk), the base unit showing minimums for last night and the lighting setup.

Cheers!

Baz

 

IMG_0207.JPG

IMG_0225.JPG

IMG_0212.JPG

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Allen
34 minutes ago, Bazza said:

Good Sunday morning my friends.......

According to my thermometer probes the low here last night was 34 and the lowest it got inside my heating wrap next to the palm's heart was only 48.

That's a 14 degree difference - a pleasant surprise in effectiveness, given the minimal effort made for this process.

I will continue to experiment and report my findings here.

Photos below showing my 2 temperature probes used (#3 was outside and #1 was inside the wrap next to the trunk), the base unit showing minimums for last night and the lighting setup.

Cheers!

Baz

Nice!  I would not risk wrapping over the top of those bulbs as it is a fire risk.  Good that it kept it so warm when most of the heat is escaping.  

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Bazza
4 hours ago, Allen said:

Nice!  I would not risk wrapping over the top of those bulbs as it is a fire risk.  Good that it kept it so warm when most of the heat is escaping.  

You might be right but those bulbs don't really seem all that hot when I touch their surface. I know this because I was concerned about tissue damage where a few were in direct contact with the palm.

I'd like to put a second probe in where the lights are in between the two blankets.

BTW.....the way this palm, with all the fruiting branches, is not all that easy to wrap. I was thinking if I lopped off all the fruiting branches it would easier to do this work. But then I wouldn't have a crop this year. :blink: I guess if a severe hard freeze was in the forecast, the sacrifice would be justifiable. Cross that bridge when I have to. For now it seems the current arrangement is working.

Makes you wonder how much warmer it would be if I added an electric blanket around the whole thing.

More data.....I pulled the plug on the lights this morning after posting my update.

Even with the lights off.....and currently reading #3 probe at 56F, the #1 probe is reading 67F. Based on this information.....just wrapping a blanket alone seems to be helping!

 

Edited by Bazza

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Allen
9 minutes ago, Bazza said:

You might be right but those bulbs don't really seem all that hot when I touch their surface. I know this because I was concerned about tissue damage where a few were in direct contact with the palm.

I'd like to put a second probe in where the lights are in between the two blankets.

BTW.....the way this palm, with all the fruiting branches, is not all that easy to wrap. I was thinking if I lopped off all the fruiting branches it would easier to do this work. But then I wouldn't have a crop this year. :blink: I guess if a severe hard freeze was in the forecast, the sacrifice would be justifiable. Cross that bridge when I have to. For now it seems the current arrangement is working.

Makes you wonder how much warmer it would be if I added an electric blanket around the whole thing.

More data.....I pulled the plug on the lights this morning after posting my update.

Even with the lights off.....and currently reading #3 probe at 56F, the #1 probe is reading 67F. Based on this information.....just wrapping a blanket alone seems to be helping!

 

Make sure you are making your temp observations at night with the sun down.  Palms don't produce heat, so just wrapping a palm produces no heat improvement.  It is likely absorbing heat from the sun producing this temp difference.

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