Wrapping v Drapeing

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Dave Brown
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Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by Dave Brown » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:33 am

I am of the opinion that wrapping is NOT the best method of protection. Our biggest source of winter warmth on cold nights, is the ground, and wrapping doesn't make use of this, instead just letting heat escape as the plant has been gathered up to wrap it. A far better method is to drape, covering as large a ground area as possible. This traps the ground heat around the plant.

Last December the 10cm ground temperature actually rose when covered by 33cm of snow. This was due to the insulation quality of the snow trapping the warmth in. Anything above the snow was frozen solid, as denied access to the ground warmth. Wrapping is like being above the snow :roll:

Wrapping just ends up with many layers of fleece, but no additional warmth. Draping harnesses the natural warmth in the ground :wink:

Also if snow falls, it covers the fleece adding an extra layer of insulation from the cold air above. Many of my plants that survived well last December were just mounds in the snow. All the Dicksonia antarctica retained green fronds, even though we had -10C. They were not fleeced, but trapped the ground heat under the umbrella of snow covered fronds.

Drape in preference to wrap unless you have an additional heat source :wink:
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by sanatic1234 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:55 am

Sorry if i sound thick but what do you mean by draping? building small shelters for them or something?
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by Dave Brown » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:04 am

Throwing fleece over the whole plant down to the ground. :wink:
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by sanatic1234 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:07 am

Oh ok and then weigh it down with some bricks or something. :)
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by pdid » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:11 am

Got any pics Dave?


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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by GoggleboxUK » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:29 am

Taking that theory on a bit further, surely it would make sense to go for a fleeced pyramid or wigwam type shelter using 3 or 4 bamboo canes staked into the ground before the freezes occur?

In the event of snow and ice the canes would be more securely anchored as the ground froze and simply bending them into position and covering the frame with fleece would give a larger surface area of ground sourced heat yjan simply draping.

Adding bottles of hot water would also be of great benefit, as would using any snowfall to create an igloo around the frame.
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:35 am

Take it even further and drape fleece over the entire garden!

Seriously though. I think wrapping and draping both have their uses. Last year I mainly draped fleece over plants and weighed down the corners with bricks. This was easier than wrapping individual plants. (I did this far too late after the worst of the weather had started :( )

But when you think in the case of Simbas Cycads, wrapping worked really well so why not?

Another point drapeing over my main bed in October kept my dahlias and nanas pristine even after a few light freezes.


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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by Trainer John » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:55 am

Rather than using bricks to hold down fleece I find it better to use plastic milk containers or similar filled with water. The edges are a lot smoother and the fleece far less likely to tear. I also use lengths of blue alkathene water pipe to support the fleece. I use it on the allotment to build cloches and netting tunnels and it works equally well in the garden.
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by Jellybob » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:53 pm

I have two small Phoenix canariensis_CIDP's that will be wrapped this winter. The fronds will be loosely tied up, fleece bag placed over and then wrapped with a plastic corrugated sheet tied up. After losing every small to medium date palm since 2007 (rain cover, fleece draping) I don't think there is much to lose. I don't buy this air flow stuff. I have seen numerous photos on google with Phoenix canariensis_CIDP and washingtonia completely covered in much colder places than here. I have an example for you. In 2008 I planted a Queen palm up against the front of my house (south facing). Winter 2008/2009 plant was wrapped with fleece. Fronds burnt, centre spear green. 3 fronds in the summer. 2009/2010. Fleece wrap, all fronds burnt, centre fine, 2 and a half fronds that summer. 2010/2011. Rain shelter, a bit of fleece draped over now and again. All fronds burnt, spear pull and one and a half distorted fronds this summer. This will have fleece wrapping this winter with a cover. Now I can't claim it will work on every plant, or for everyone....but I wish I had done it last winter on my oldest Phoenix canariensis_CIDP...maybe it would of still been here.


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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by sanatic1234 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:01 pm

Phoenix canariensis_CIDP's are always going to be hard work to keep alive in the UK though. A lot of people use them as bedding. I think it has to be trachycarpus or chammies as a better option. I do have a Phoenix canariensis_CIDP and i will protect it but if it dies then it dies i won't replace it. I will just plant one of my little Trachycarpus's in its place. :wink:
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by kata » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:52 pm

Adding bottles of hot water would also be of great benefit,
How would that work Goggle. They would'nt stay hot for long surely?
it would make sense to go for a fleeced pyramid or wigwam type shelter using 3 or 4 bamboo canes staked into the ground before the freezes occur?
I like the sound of that. It may work for my old Acer which is on the front drive and gets all the elements thrown at it.

I still have the very thick cardboard from the Trachi delivery so for this year at least it can be wrapped round the pot and stem if not the rest.

Wrapping does sound good and would allow air flow which is needed to keep the plant/palm ticking over during winter. I just hope all the planning comes to nothing and wrapping/tying is not needed.

Keep the ideas flowing. Dave's Idea last year, was it a tent, was also good.

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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by Tom2006 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:59 pm

It's an interesting option and one I plan to use on my smaller in ground trachies. Not sure how I can do this for my new large one though. I see wrapping as the only option. There is also the issue of daytime temps. I think I would be right in saying that Dave didn't have the continual daytime at or below 0C although forgive me if I'm wrong. If we have these again everything freezes solid and you'll need a source of warming regardless of wrapping or drapeing. The large bottles of hot water is a good option imo.
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by sanatic1234 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:13 pm

But like kata has stated tom, the bottles would not stay hot for long if out in freezing weather, give it an hour or 2 max if that and it will be cold? I don't see how this works to be honest??? Please someone explain this in detail so i can get a better picture of it and how it stays warm for a long period.
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by GoggleboxUK » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:22 pm

Essex Ross' explanation (quoted from a different thread) is concise and self-explanatory:
Ok basically it goes a little something like this...

Water has a very high specific heat capacity (4200 J/Kg/°C), thats 4200 Joules per Kilogram per degree centigrade. So in other words to heat or cool 1 kilo of water by 1 degree Celsius you need to add or take away 4200 Joules of energy respectively.

Now the specific heat capacity of air depends on humidity, but dry air has a specific heat capacity of 1006 J/Kg/°C so we conclude that water has about four times the specific heat capacity of air, hence by placing bottles of water by a palm and wrapping in fleece you effectively increase the amount of energy that needs to be taken out of the area to cool it to the temperature of the outside air.

Essentially you have got extremely good insulation and with short duration of cold it is possible to use this method to great effect.
I'm saving 2L pop bottles which I intend to fill with almost boiling water and place around the trunk of my planted palms. I will then wrap the circle of bottles in a trriple layer of folded over fleece whicj then runs on into a single layer of fleece wrapped tightly around the crown.

All of this will be insid a fleece wigwam creating an isulated heat source inside a structure that will also contain any lost heat again.

I think that filled 6-8 bottles and putting in place around 10pm each night will keep the temperature above freezing until dawn the next day.

If it snows then the igloo method will make the shelter even more effective.
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Re: Wrapping v Drapeing

Post by Tom2006 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:52 pm

If you put the bottles under an enclosure or even just near to a plant then it will help keep the temperature a little less cold. It worked in my mini polyhouse last winter.
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