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zimm

Heat Cable / Thermostat questions!

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zimm

I am going to be using heat cables this year to protect my palms through the winter.  I'm looking at either the Frost King cables with built in thermostats or the "Prime Wire" on Amazon which don't have a thermostat but I'd then use a thermostat such as the Farm Innovators TC-3.  I am wiring circuits for these so was concerned about total amp draw but looks like I'll be fine.  For any others interested, here's the data I've gotten on the cables and thermostats:

Frost King - 7w/ft - Max @15A =257ft, Max @20A = 342ft

Prime Wire - 5w/ft - Max @15A = 360ft Max @20A = 480ft

Frost King built in thermostat unit:  On 38F / Off 45F

Frost King separate thermostat unit:  On 38F / Off 50F

Farm Innovators TC-3 thermostat:  On 35F / Off 45F

 

My plan is to have a separate heat cable for each palm with a thermostat in each, all wrapped up with frost cloth.  I'm not yet sure how tightly wrapped I can get the crown so I am thinking of putting the thermostat just below the crown against the trunk where I have good full wrap around it.  I figure that will sense the temperature at a point the furthest from the ground but not where (unless I end up fully wrapping the top of the palm) airflow can really throw the temperature off.  Goal there being not to have the heat cable temperature get too hot, waste energy, and potentially harm the palm.  

Am I off base there?  If I had the thermostat out in free air and it had gotten below freezing then warmed up mid day in the sun to 44F lets say, the heat cables would still be on and keep heating round the clock.   Other than wasted electricity is this good or bad?  I mean they sit out in 100+F sunny Texas days unwrapped.  I could alternately put the thermostat out in free/open air and just run heat cables to the wrapped palms and turn on/off by outside air temp vs "internal wrapped palm temp".  

How do you all do it?  How would you do it?  

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Allen

Short answer, you want the thermostats inside the palm wrapping in the crown area.

 

 

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zimm

I have also considered using C9 christmas lights as it seems those would stay working when a bulb burned out and there would be visible evidence through the frost cloth if they were working.  The heat cable I see as a better heat source and maybe a more robust solution to never again lose everything like we did in the freeze this winter.  I do believe that some of the heat cables like the Prime Wire do have a lighted plug to indicate when they are on however which is a bonus.  C9 lights might also be more visibly appealing during the winter

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Allen
5 minutes ago, zimm said:

I have also considered using C9 christmas lights as it seems those would stay working when a bulb burned out and there would be visible evidence through the frost cloth if they were working.  The heat cable I see as a better heat source and maybe a more robust solution to never again lose everything like we did in the freeze this winter.  I do believe that some of the heat cables like the Prime Wire do have a lighted plug to indicate when they are on however which is a bonus.  C9 lights might also be more visibly appealing during the winter

It would help to know what size palms/variety you are protecting. (pics)   I don't advise C9 lights but I use the mini lights exclusively.  Some people use the C9's but I feel they have lots of drawbacks and it depends exactly how you use them.  

Edited by Allen

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zimm
4 minutes ago, Allen said:

It would help to know what size palms/variety you are protecting. (pics)   I don't advise C9 lights but I use the mini lights exclusively.  Some people use the C9's but I feel they have lots of drawbacks and it depends exactly how you use them.  

Pic below.  2x 6' Sabal Palmetto, 1x 6' Washingtonia Filifera, 1x 6' Butia Odorata, 2x 2' Chamaerops Humilis v. Cerifera, 1x 3'(ish) Chamaerops Humilis (multi-trunk).  All heights approximate and based on clear trunk only.  Anything else you see there is either 1) fine to overwinter, 2) going in the garage over winter or 3) expected to die/grow back (Bananas/Cannas)

4-ABB4-B9-A-C1-E3-42-E1-9-EC7-86454-FAAE

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zimm

Well aren't I a horrible palm father.  I've forgotten several of my "children".  Add to that a 5' Butia Odorata and a 1-2' Jubaea Chilensis.  Getting some better pics from my phone, this is the only one I had here at my computer that I had posted elsewhere.

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zimm

DF21D194-6C7B-4F8B-9585-429DD097B23C.jpeg

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zimm
20 minutes ago, Allen said:

I don't advise C9 lights but I use the mini lights exclusively.  Some people use the C9's but I feel they have lots of drawbacks and it depends exactly how you use them.  

Thought there was going to be more heat from the C9s and they were less prone to the whole strand going out for 1 bulb dying.  Wanted to avoid unwrapping palms mid winter for single bulb deaths!

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Allen

The C9 lights will be ok on those large trunked palms if you only wrap breathable frost cloth over them and keep from touching fronds.  I don't know how long you want to keep them wrapped because in 8A most of these palms are pretty good.  What I do now is run the electrical to all the palms during a warm day in December and then just wrap with frost cloth during the first cold event and keep wrapped if needed.  So you can wrap the palms with C9 or mini lights or cable then wrap trunks as needed.  You can protect fronds on those large ones as well but they will need to be bundled/tied and covered if you need to do that.   Medium palms can be bundled with the aid of plastic fencing which you tie around the trunk and slide up the canopy after tying fronds starting in bundles at the center.    The small multi trunks can be done very similar.  All my palms I put a thermocube on the end of the extension cord, cut a hole in a gallon ziplock bag and feed it over the themocube and tape the end then you can plug in any lights, cable you want.  I really like the mini lights because I stuff them down into the spear area and put alot of them to keep it warm which you can't do with tape or C9's.  

IMG_1529.JPG

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Jimhardy

Mini lights are worthless in Arctic cold, they don't give off enough heat

unless your palm is so well insulated that no heat can escape.

I have never had a problem with C-9 lights in 14 years of using

them in conjunction with a thermocube(the problems have come

from the thermocubes themselves as some are just poor quality or

dont function well if there is to much moisture-this issue can fix

its self once the temp-inside protection- goes below freezing)but you would do well

to put your temp sensor inside the protection so you know exactly

what temps you have going on from inside your cozy house.

I have seen multiple sensor weather "stations" for sale on E-bay.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/313220752305

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Allen
33 minutes ago, Jimhardy said:

Mini lights are worthless in Arctic cold, they don't give off enough heat

unless your palm is so well insulated that no heat can escape.

 

Jim, In zone 5 I assume you need to build insulated boxes which can be heated based on watts.  You can just stick one or 2 fluorescent bulbs in those to heat or approx 60-100 watts total for a 4-5 foot enclosure.  Zone 5 is gonna take more than a frostcloth wrap LOL

Also to OP you probably need to think about having a generator after what happed to TX last winter.

So left temp sensor zone CH1-3 is wrapped mini lights in 2-3 wraps burlap, right white sensor is outdoor temp.  Down to 0F no problem for me.  in fact they cycle on and off a little too much.  You want to look at total watts applied not the size of the bulbs.  So 30-39F over outside temps.  To be clear the sensor temps are with palms wrapped and not bare like photos.  This is why you want EVEN heat trapped around trunk and spear and not try to heat a large enclosure.  

IMG_0744.JPG

Before wrapping palms I leave palms like this.  When temps will damage palm i wrap trunk and fronds with frost cloth. 

IMG_2174.JPG

IMG_2175.JPG

Notice the thick layer of bulbs around waggy spear and these are also Pushed down into hollow spear area to prevent freezing around spear until wrapped (You cant do that with heat cable or C9's).  Notice right palm has a burlap trunk wrap and spear wrapped which will protect palm trunk and spear area.

IMG_2179.JPG

Edited by Allen
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Jimhardy

Would not work here where temps can get -10F -20F record is-31F.

 

Heating cables, mini lights etc will only work if there is very little gap (airspace)

for them to heat,,,,our Arctic cold is usually brought in with 30-50mph winds

and is very penetrating cold....I envy you guys that don't have to protect for to

cold of temps although I guess-with "cold"- its all relative to what you can get used too...

one good thing about mini lights/cables is that they are unlikely to burn you palm

if they are on a thermocube...I wish I could wrap my palms like that here...

I am still struggling to figure out covers for mine that won't break the bank...

2"  thick styrofoam boxes would do nicely but that would cost me close to $300

to cover all the palms and tree ferns.

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Allen
7 minutes ago, Jimhardy said:

Would not work here where temps can get -10F -20F record is-31F.

 

Heating cables, mini lights etc will only work if there is very little gap (airspace)

for them to heat,,,,our Arctic cold is usually brought in with 30-50mph winds

and is very penetrating cold....I envy you guys that don't have to protect for to

cold of temps although I guess-with "cold"- its all relative to what you can get used too...

one good thing about mini lights/cables is that they are unlikely to burn you palm

if they are on a thermocube...I wish I could wrap my palms like that here...

I am still struggling to figure out covers for mine that won't break the bank...

2"  thick styrofoam boxes would do nicely but that would cost me close to $300

to cover all the palms and tree ferns.

In zone 5 your best option is the foamboard boxes built to size and putting lights of your choosing inside.  So insulated they should only need 2 of the fluorescent bulb style lights on a thermocube or you can put C9's up to 60-100watts total.  If you're worried about super cold you could put a second 20F thermocube in there (In addition to the first 35F one) attached to more backup lights.  

 

The easiest to build reusable is the cattle fence circle enclosures if we're talking 6' and under but not as easy to heat.

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Jimhardy

Did you read it

Last 2 lines

 

2"  thick styrofoam boxes would do nicely but that would cost me close to $300

to cover all the palms and tree ferns.

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zimm
4 hours ago, Jimhardy said:

Did you read it

Last 2 lines

 

2"  thick styrofoam boxes would do nicely but that would cost me close to $300

to cover all the palms and tree ferns.

What kind of palms do you have up in Fairfield?  I am originally from Keokuk.

4x8 foamboard at 2" thick is under $40 at home depot.  I have crafted boxes from that to transport frozen products.  Unless you have palms of significant size a few of those boards would probably take you far.  Regardless, it's worth the cost to protect them if they are of value to you.

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Jimhardy

Trachycarpus Manipur (Naga Hills).  $40

Trachycarpus Latisectus $40

Trachycarpus Takil $40

Trachycarpus Oreophilus $40

Trachycarpus Princeps  $40

Trachycarpus Princeps x Wagnerianus $40

Trachycarpus Geminisectus $40

Very small S.Louisiana & S.McCurtain-can be covered with Rose cones.

Cyathea Cooperi $40

Cyathea Cooperi $40

Cyathea Brownii $40

= $400 to cover all at some point....I would like to just pick out the ones 

I really want to keep but thats tough! :crying:

Here in the U.S. the only ones  that can be found easily  would 

be Princeps and the C.Cooperi.

Most of these are still pretty small as I started over when I moved to a new place 3 years ago.

 

 

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GregVirginia7
16 hours ago, Allen said:

The C9 lights will be ok on those large trunked palms if you only wrap breathable frost cloth over them and keep from touching fronds.  I don't know how long you want to keep them wrapped because in 8A most of these palms are pretty good.  What I do now is run the electrical to all the palms during a warm day in December and then just wrap with frost cloth during the first cold event and keep wrapped if needed.  So you can wrap the palms with C9 or mini lights or cable then wrap trunks as needed.  You can protect fronds on those large ones as well but they will need to be bundled/tied and covered if you need to do that.   Medium palms can be bundled with the aid of plastic fencing which you tie around the trunk and slide up the canopy after tying fronds starting in bundles at the center.    The small multi trunks can be done very similar.  All my palms I put a thermocube on the end of the extension cord, cut a hole in a gallon ziplock bag and feed it over the themocube and tape the end then you can plug in any lights, cable you want.  I really like the mini lights because I stuff them down into the spear area and put alot of them to keep it warm which you can't do with tape or C9's.  

IMG_1529.JPG

Yes...from a zone 7 perspective, I’ve become more inclined to cover a lot of the ground surrounding my palms with frost cloth. Given the south facing situation, it really absorbs a lot of the sun’s heat on a sunny day. A warmed chunk of earth is a very steady radiator of heat at night. I’d stay away from C-9’s unless you use them as a perimeter ring around a palm that doesn’t actually touch the palm, then surrounded by some sort of tent. I’ve burned my share of holes in petioles and frost cloth with them so I stick to the incandescent mimi’s...easy to wrap and more moderate in heat release, but even they can burn live vegetation if too tight...and they do look nice when lit in the otherwise dreary winter landscape. I’m going to be less tedious with the protection this winter and see how they do. I’ve tended to overprotect, I think. The ones in the ground since 2017 will get the least and only if we get a Texas like arctic invasion but that’s an exception. I’ll still light a couple up with the incandescent mini’s though...mainly for looks...

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ColumbusPalm
27 minutes ago, GregVirginia7 said:

Yes...from a zone 7 perspective, I’ve become more inclined to cover a lot of the ground surrounding my palms with frost cloth. Given the south facing situation, it really absorbs a lot of the sun’s heat on a sunny day. A warmed chunk of earth is a very steady radiator of heat at night. I’d stay away from C-9’s unless you use them as a perimeter ring around a palm that doesn’t actually touch the palm, then surrounded by some sort of tent. I’ve burned my share of holes in petioles and frost cloth with them so I stick to the incandescent mimi’s...easy to wrap and more moderate in heat release, but even they can burn live vegetation if too tight...and they do look nice when lit in the otherwise dreary winter landscape. I’m going to be less tedious with the protection this winter and see how they do. I’ve tended to overprotect, I think. The ones in the ground since 2017 will get the least and only if we get a Texas like arctic invasion but that’s an exception. I’ll still light a couple up with the incandescent mini’s though...mainly for looks...

I was going to make a separate post, but would frost cloth be a better wall of protection if using stakes as a perimeter rather than burlap? I’m going to protect my minors and needle and am also curious specifically with minors how to do that since you’re only protecting vegetation?

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GregVirginia7
1 hour ago, ColumbusPalm said:

I was going to make a separate post, but would frost cloth be a better wall of protection if using stakes as a perimeter rather than burlap? I’m going to protect my minors and needle and am also curious specifically with minors how to do that since you’re only protecting vegetation?

I’ve used both but have found frost cloth to be best...it’s more densely woven (though much thinner than burlap) Frost cloth doesn’t hold moisture and its black color really draws in the heat when the sun hits it...in your zone, you may do both...burlap as the first layer and frost cloth as the outside layer to soak up any sunshine that hits it...For a canopy, I’ve used golf umbrellas wired to 6’ metal garden shepherd’s hooks...works really well as a canopy if you want to keep crowns dryer and you can drape protection over the umbrella and attach to the perimeter corral with clothes pins...Add some mini incandescent lights and it seems to work pretty well...but I’m in zone 7...I think you’re in zone 6. You may still want to pin a fair amount of frost cloth to sun exposed ground around the palms to drag in as much of the sun’s slow release heat as possible. Below is my Chamaerops shroud this past winter...here, anyway, I think it’s more than Is necessary and I plan to reduce it this winter...depending, of course...this one has been in-ground since 2014 and it’s time to stop babying it...depending, of course...:blush2:

FC64586C-069A-469B-8E6C-5B8A206F2DC4.thumb.jpeg.5ecd8d1d7f8823d448e76a5d1e968dc9.jpeg

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ColumbusPalm
15 minutes ago, GregVirginia7 said:

I’ve used both but have found frost cloth to be best...it’s more densely woven (though much thinner than burlap) Frost cloth doesn’t hold moisture and its black color really draws in the heat when the sun hits it...in your zone, you may do both...burlap as the first layer and frost cloth as the outside layer to soak up any sunshine that hits it...For a canopy, I’ve used golf umbrellas wired to 6’ metal garden shepherd’s hooks...works really well as a canopy if you want to keep crowns dryer and you can drape protection over the umbrella and attach to the perimeter corral with clothes pins...Add some mini incandescent lights and it seems to work pretty well...but I’m in zone 7...I think you’re in zone 6. You may still want to pin a fair amount of frost cloth to sun exposed ground around the palms to drag in as much of the sun’s slow release heat as possible. Below is my Chamaerops shroud this past winter...here, anyway, I think it’s more than Is necessary and I plan to reduce it this winter...depending, of course...this one has been in-ground since 2014 and it’s time to stop babying it...depending, of course...:blush2:

FC64586C-069A-469B-8E6C-5B8A206F2DC4.thumb.jpeg.5ecd8d1d7f8823d448e76a5d1e968dc9.jpeg

Thanks for the ideas and picture. It is similar to what I had pictured to do. Sorry for the many questions, but is the black frost cloth the same as the black landscape fabric at Lowe’s/Home Depot? I can’t seem to find anything but green online. Thanks again 

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Jimhardy

Allen

 

 

That Trachy in the third pic below your thermometer is one of the most gorgeous Trachys I have ever seen!  Really nice!

 

 

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Jesse PNW

That trachy is a winner for sure! 

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zimm
3 hours ago, GregVirginia7 said:

Yes...from a zone 7 perspective, I’ve become more inclined to cover a lot of the ground surrounding my palms with frost cloth. Given the south facing situation, it really absorbs a lot of the sun’s heat on a sunny day. A warmed chunk of earth is a very steady radiator of heat at night. I’d stay away from C-9’s unless you use them as a perimeter ring around a palm that doesn’t actually touch the palm, then surrounded by some sort of tent. I’ve burned my share of holes in petioles and frost cloth with them so I stick to the incandescent mimi’s...easy to wrap and more moderate in heat release, but even they can burn live vegetation if too tight...and they do look nice when lit in the otherwise dreary winter landscape. I’m going to be less tedious with the protection this winter and see how they do. I’ve tended to overprotect, I think. The ones in the ground since 2017 will get the least and only if we get a Texas like arctic invasion but that’s an exception. I’ll still light a couple up with the incandescent mini’s though...mainly for looks...

We have had ours in the ground since 2014 and have not done any protection.  We would get some frond damage from cold/ice occasionally but new growth the next year and trimming always worked.  It's a mix around here as you would see some restaurants wrapping theirs with burlap when it started to get cold, we figured we were good and didn't have to go to the effort.  I always figured that ours would be a lot happier come spring if we had protected them but why extend so much effort if it really wasn't necessary?  Fast forward to 2021.  We lost EVERYTHING.  Recovering from this had multiple zeros on the end and was a major heartbreak.  We're of the mind going forward that some effort to avoid this is WELL worth it and quite frankly is dirt cheap in comparison to replacing everything.  I'd caution/suggest you to keep at your diligence in protection if you love your palms.

I was figuring C9s were a more robust and better/more reliable option than cheap mini lights that might go out and/or not provide enough heat.  Your comments on burning holes in things is valid and heat cable may or may not have similar issues.  Have not found a "Max temp" but presumably with 5-7W of output and insulation, it'll get as hot as the ambient temps/insulation allow it to if not pressed right against the thermostat.  

I have also let my planning get ahead of practicality here - the non-thermostat heat cables seem to only be available in as short as 60' lengths, which would be overkill for a single tree.  The shorter ones all have the built in pipe-style thermostats that may/may not work as well in open air (dunno) vs pressed against a metal pipe.  Given the available options, this likely has me back to mini-lights unless these frost king cable thermostats are good.

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GregVirginia7
24 minutes ago, zimm said:

We have had ours in the ground since 2014 and have not done any protection.  We would get some frond damage from cold/ice occasionally but new growth the next year and trimming always worked.  It's a mix around here as you would see some restaurants wrapping theirs with burlap when it started to get cold, we figured we were good and didn't have to go to the effort.  I always figured that ours would be a lot happier come spring if we had protected them but why extend so much effort if it really wasn't necessary?  Fast forward to 2021.  We lost EVERYTHING.  Recovering from this had multiple zeros on the end and was a major heartbreak.  We're of the mind going forward that some effort to avoid this is WELL worth it and quite frankly is dirt cheap in comparison to replacing everything.  I'd caution/suggest you to keep at your diligence in protection if you love your palms.

I was figuring C9s were a more robust and better/more reliable option than cheap mini lights that might go out and/or not provide enough heat.  Your comments on burning holes in things is valid and heat cable may or may not have similar issues.  Have not found a "Max temp" but presumably with 5-7W of output and insulation, it'll get as hot as the ambient temps/insulation allow it to if not pressed right against the thermostat.  

I have also let my planning get ahead of practicality here - the non-thermostat heat cables seem to only be available in as short as 60' lengths, which would be overkill for a single tree.  The shorter ones all have the built in pipe-style thermostats that may/may not work as well in open air (dunno) vs pressed against a metal pipe.  Given the available options, this likely has me back to mini-lights unless these frost king cable thermostats are good.

After the Texas freeze, I can see your point...I’ll be prepared if such an arctic dip happens and I guess, in the severest of events, not having electricity for days will be the game changer...But there’s only so much one can do. From what I’ve read here, there do seem to be some surprising recoveries... I think most of those tend toward the palmates or is it across the board? Palmates are all I’ll ever have here, I guess. So if we get one of those catastrophic cold events here, I’ll be lighting them up and wrapping what I can and hoping for the best. Are you replacing the ones you lost with other colder varieties or are you going with the same but will have a protection system in place if this happens again. I just shook my head as this awful event unfolded On this site, affecting not only palms but other vegetation, your power grid, water pipes...Really terrible.

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Jimhardy

One nice thing about the C-9s etc is that you can unscrew bulbs if you put in to many...

the thermocube does help with this so not like the old days when I was the thermocube...no winter trips

in those days.

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GregVirginia7
5 hours ago, ColumbusPalm said:

Thanks for the ideas and picture. It is similar to what I had pictured to do. Sorry for the many questions, but is the black frost cloth the same as the black landscape fabric at Lowe’s/Home Depot? I can’t seem to find anything but green online. Thanks again 

Not sure...but black would be the best color...check out your local garden center...for me here in zone 7, the strategy is to get as much sunny horizontal ground covered as possible...for my little south facing palm plot on a 4’ slope, this addition to the perceived microclimate Is hopefully beneficial, seems to be anyway... I have a small pond and some rocks on it as well that add to the heat transfer...

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zimm

@Allen @GregVirginia7 Do you have any advice for how heavily to apply frost cloth?  I figure a single layer would suffice for frost protection, but with christmas lights underneath I would have to figure wrapping more would give better insulation.  Too thick and I suspect likely I would remove any ability for it to breathe.  Going to get a little bit of double coverage anyway just due to spiraling down (or up) while covering it, but would more than one layer with at minimum 50% overlap in the spiral be beneficial?

Any idea if this would be affective for banana plants? Or would the insulation still not be enough (with lights).  I might try it, but I figure you two are both further north than me so your input should surely be effective here.

 

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GregVirginia7
4 minutes ago, zimm said:

@Allen @GregVirginia7 Do you have any advice for how heavily to apply frost cloth?  I figure a single layer would suffice for frost protection, but with christmas lights underneath I would have to figure wrapping more would give better insulation.  Too thick and I suspect likely I would remove any ability for it to breathe.  Going to get a little bit of double coverage anyway just due to spiraling down (or up) while covering it, but would more than one layer with at minimum 50% overlap in the spiral be beneficial?

Any idea if this would be affective for banana plants? Or would the insulation still not be enough (with lights).  I might try it, but I figure you two are both further north than me so your input should surely be effective here.

 

Regarding ground cover, I lay down a single layer...don’t know the thickness of the cloth I use but it’s on the thin side as you can see the lights behind/underneath it. The area I cover faces south and on sunny days, gets a good blast of sunshine while it lasts. I’ve found, in my situation here, that is sufficient for the purpose of warming the ground underneath it. I’ve also noticed that the type of frost cloth I have tends to shed water so I did add some slits in it to let some of the water flow through more easily...it’s a bit of a slope so water tends to run off pretty fast. Shop around for the different types...now that I think about it, the stuff I’ve been using could be landscaping cloth meant to be buried to prevent weeds ( which it doesn’t do anyway) so for all intents and purposes, the primary goal is to paint the palm zone terrain black with it and let the sun do its work. I haven’t wrapped any trunks with the cloth but I have with the small incandescent lights, massing more at the crown. I guess if we got into the low teens/single digits, I might try that but would do my best to keep it at a single layer and very loose at the crown. I have wrapped crowns too tight and have done more damage than the weather, but that was with burlap that tends to take on a lot of moisture...the stuff I use doesn’t do that. It’s also nice to use as a loose wrap around the trunk base with small incandescents underneath...great way to keep the trunk base and surrounding roots a bit warmer.

As for my basjoo... I cut that to the ground, chop everything up and lay it like a ring around the plant trunk zone...I try to keep it somewhat open but will throw a thick layer of burlap over the cut trunks if it’s going to get really cold. Otherwise, I let the area the trunks inhabit breath...Hope this helps, especially after your last winter. I’ve no doubt you’re on your guard. Our past winter here in NOVA zone 7 was really quite mild. For our winters, winter protection that breaths seems to be the best. Umbrellas wired to sturdy stakes helps, too where possible...

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So shroud like it looks a little creepy...

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zimm

Well, I have a roll of the white Dewitt 2.5 oz frost cloth and am trying to determine ahead of time if I will need another.  Frost protection I am sure just needs one layer but insulation with multiple layers tips the scale towards potentially overdoing it and trapping too much moisture. 

I am hoping to tie up fronds and roll a spiral with 1/3 or 1/2 overlap top to bottom with Christmas lights underneath on a thermocube temp controller.  I have not yet figured out the top part but was 50/50 on layering a single piece up top to cover and protect from rain/snow from entering.  Will tie around it with some plastic rope to hold it in place.  Some of the local Tex-Mex restaurants will wrap with burlap up past the crown but leave the fronds exposed.  I’m thinking if I can protect the fronds we will have fuller, healthier palms in the spring with less frost damage.

I also don’t want to be outside doing this in freezing temperatures so this will likely be in place for a while over winter.  The frost cloth got my attention since light gets through it so hopefully that will work.  I know this isn’t your situation exactly, and I know this is a huge knee jerk reaction from an unusually cold winter… but the consequences had multiple zeros on the end of it and I would do anything to avoid that loss again.  I think the concerns with my plan (as much as I like the protection of it) are:  too long with fronds tied up, too long with frost cloth blocking the sun, and potential moisture retention issues.  Am I dead wrong on anything here?

Regarding the bananas, we have cut ours off clean at the ground and they have grown back each year.  Not from the same stalk but new ones form around them.  We have a decorative gravel bed so mulching them is not an option.  If I have enough Christmas lights and frost cloth I may try to protect some this year and see what happens.  Would be awesome if I could have an existing stalk start to regrow without coming all the way back from the ground!

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GregVirginia7
8 hours ago, zimm said:

Well, I have a roll of the white Dewitt 2.5 oz frost cloth and am trying to determine ahead of time if I will need another.  Frost protection I am sure just needs one layer but insulation with multiple layers tips the scale towards potentially overdoing it and trapping too much moisture. 

I am hoping to tie up fronds and roll a spiral with 1/3 or 1/2 overlap top to bottom with Christmas lights underneath on a thermocube temp controller.  I have not yet figured out the top part but was 50/50 on layering a single piece up top to cover and protect from rain/snow from entering.  Will tie around it with some plastic rope to hold it in place.  Some of the local Tex-Mex restaurants will wrap with burlap up past the crown but leave the fronds exposed.  I’m thinking if I can protect the fronds we will have fuller, healthier palms in the spring with less frost damage.

I also don’t want to be outside doing this in freezing temperatures so this will likely be in place for a while over winter.  The frost cloth got my attention since light gets through it so hopefully that will work.  I know this isn’t your situation exactly, and I know this is a huge knee jerk reaction from an unusually cold winter… but the consequences had multiple zeros on the end of it and I would do anything to avoid that loss again.  I think the concerns with my plan (as much as I like the protection of it) are:  too long with fronds tied up, too long with frost cloth blocking the sun, and potential moisture retention issues.  Am I dead wrong on anything here?

Regarding the bananas, we have cut ours off clean at the ground and they have grown back each year.  Not from the same stalk but new ones form around them.  We have a decorative gravel bed so mulching them is not an option.  If I have enough Christmas lights and frost cloth I may try to protect some this year and see what happens.  Would be awesome if I could have an existing stalk start to regrow without coming all the way back from the ground!

For me, anything I put down would be black in color. White is too reflective of the sun’s energy. I like trapping the heat. I stuck my arm into that “shroud” tent one sunny winter day and was amazed at how warm it was in there...but for the long duration freezes like you had this past winter, planning is in order and nothing I’ve done since 2014 would do much in a situation like that for sure, especially if electricity is lost.

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