RE: freezing plants solid

From: Brewer Charles E PHDN (
Date: Thu Aug 26 1999 - 11:21:48 PDT

Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 14:21:48 -0400
From: Brewer Charles E PHDN <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3052$foo@default>
Subject: RE: freezing plants solid

Freezing plants solid is not as harsh as the dry winter winds and killing
frost can be. I have a friend that lives in Northern Ohio where winters can
be very server. Temperatures staying well below freezing for many days even
weeks. During winter, his plants are protected inside cold frame surrounded
by a thin layer of plastic and bubble wrap. He keeps a flood light on inside
each frames with a metal bucket sitting on top. This method helps to
distribute the heat inside these frames until the temperatures outside drop
well below freezing. Then all his plants (Sarr's and VFTs) free solid for
weeks, only to grow and flower like crazy in the spring. The trick to
keeping these plants alive (according to Davit Kutt) is not to expose the
plants to constant killing frost and dry winter winds. I should add at this
point that his frames may stay buried under several inches of snow for
 I live in Virginia where the winter temperatures are a lot milder, bounce
below freezing at night to well above freezing during the day. Although our
winters are not considered long, we still get quite a lot of harsh winter
weather from January through March.
 Usually, around the end of November, I add about 4 inch of pine straw on
top of the remaining plants in the bog, then let nature take it's course. I
would not consider 4 inches of pine straw ample protection to freezing
temperature, but it does provide protection against cold dry winds and
killing frost.
 In the bog I grow all types of Sarrs (S. Flavas, Minors, Purps, Oreo's,
Rubras, Psitt's and tons of hybrids and seedlings), VFTs, D. binata and a
few other CPs that seem to pop up thanks to visiting friends. The success of
this bog has a lot to do with three things. First, the bog is made out of
salt treated wood, sixteen feet long, three feet wide and 24 inches deep.
Half of the bog was buried into the ground, approx. one foot down which
provides a lot of thermo protection from the earth. Secondly, I only filled
the bog within 8 inches from top with soil. This has been very beneficial in
protecting my plants, especially the smaller ones, from strong spring and
winter storms. The last and probably the most important factor is the
moisture in the soil. Living so close to the Atlantic Ocean as I do,
provides us with plenty of rain fall and heavy morning dew. The bog soil
stays cold and moist all winter long.
 Hope this helps,

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