Keeping arids dry in winter

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ourarka
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Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by ourarka » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:46 pm

I am constructing an arid bed this year, and will be planting ones to be left in situ. It is my understanding that the 'hardy' ones winter best if kept dry (rather than warm). What is the best way of doing this, because presumably a plastic/glass cloche keeps the soil dryish but raises the humidity too much?


Conifers
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by Conifers » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:26 pm

If you can rig up a flat glass roof with no sides, that'll keep it fairly dry without shutting humidity in.


ourarka
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by ourarka » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:41 pm

It's quite a big area, and out the front of the house so not sure how possible that would be. I guess each plant (that needed it) could maybe have a 'modified' cloche to include some decent ventilation.


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RogerBacardy
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by RogerBacardy » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:50 pm

I'd mix in a load of sand to the planting area and mound up the soil to plant the arids slightly proud. I've done that and it seems to work in keeping them from sitting in damp soil over the cold months.


You're probably thinking they would be too dry over summer, but in our country that's not likely. These are arid plants, used to drought conditions, would be fine in England. :)


GREVILLE
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by GREVILLE » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:14 pm

Don't wash your car in the winter months :lol:

Seriously, the drier at the roots the greater the survival prospects. If you went OTT and planted in almost 100% grit on raised beds you would hardly need cloche protection. Rain running down the side of these can make the soil even wetter. In a front garden overhead glass protection can be ugly and could be a target for vandals.

Survival rates are even greater against a south facing wall/building.

I keep overwintered lots of potted duplicates of those planted out as a standby if any are lost.


ourarka
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by ourarka » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:39 am

Yes, the dryness is what I am after as it is south facing an being near the coast my temps never get seriously low for a prolonged length of time (well, never say never!)

I like the idea of mounding up the planting spot a little - what sort of sand is best for preparing the soil?


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RogerBacardy
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by RogerBacardy » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:39 am

washed sand so it's salt-free. :)

I also mulched my arids with gravel to prevent the roots being exposed (due to being planted a little higher than the surrounding ground)


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paulrm71
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by paulrm71 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:44 am

My agaves are planted straight into gravel in a raised bed. I have managed to get cloches over two, but leave a gap underneath to let air circulate, half a brick propping it open helps. This year I will be permanently planting out more so will build a proper shelter for the winter.


Andy Martin
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by Andy Martin » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:49 pm

I put in an arid bed last spring filled with Yuccas, Dasylirions, Nolinas and a few Agaves and as a result was determined to make sure they got through the winter ok. I therefore constructed a large shelter around 18ft x12ft approx. It has been a success as all plants have survived under the canopy and the ground is dry.
A Yucca Aloifolia has not faired so well out in the open not because of frost but due to the never ending rain I have had. just some leaf damage.... nothing major though.
13-11-12 022.JPG


JBALLY
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by JBALLY » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:24 am

A very impressive looking shelter and some very impressive looking plants you have their, do you have any more pictures of them.


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paulrm71
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by paulrm71 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:14 pm

Andy, that shelter is a great idea....do you leave the polycarbonate on in the summer, or just for the winter. Did you cover the sides with fleece or bubble wrap over the winter?

Thanks,
Paul


Andy Martin
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by Andy Martin » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:37 pm

paulrm71 wrote:Andy, that shelter is a great idea....do you leave the polycarbonate on in the summer, or just for the winter. Did you cover the sides with fleece or bubble wrap over the winter?

Thanks,
Paul
Paul... the shelter went up at the end of October and will come down mid April It has been left open on all side except the front. I found that the agaves were getting wet through splashback. I fleeced only the Nolinas which are both small and tender compared to the Yuccas
IMG_0407.JPG
JBally... I'll take some more and post separately
Ouraka... where you are based, I would not worry too much about cover. I am wary of using sand as in sand and cement. This type of sand will hold moisture rather than let it drain. My Arid bed uses sandy SOIL and drains well.
What type of Arids are you proposing to grow? Some of the Mexican Yuccas are moisture tolerant as well as cold tolerant, some are not.


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JoelR
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Re: Keeping arids dry in winter

Post by JoelR » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:31 pm

RogerBacardy wrote:washed sand so it's salt-free. :)

I also mulched my arids with gravel to prevent the roots being exposed (due to being planted a little higher than the surrounding ground)
Gravel of 20mm dia. seems to do best for me and for agaves and cacti no soil except what comes with the roots. I've worked up to 20mm from 4mm and found I have to replace the surface layer less often and the planting doesn't sink quite so much as with smaller stuff. Sand holds on to too much moisture in my experience.


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