soil warming

Mr List

Re: soil warming

Post by Mr List » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:52 pm

i wonder if i should give my Trachycarpus some hot water to try and wake up the roots.
being planted in feb i don't know how best to bring it back to strength before next winter.

i am going to start applying palmbooster from april onwards.

is there a temperature that will damage a plant
i.e. too warm

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:51 am

My running hot water comes from a gas water heater as my central heating is from a separate boiler. Calibrated to the lowest setting, I get 30c in winter rising to 32c with continous running. In spring it comes out at 32c to 35c while the summer flow more or less stays at 40c.

This is ideal for me to fill up an 80 litre dustbin in the middle of the garden when hand-watering and making up liquid feed. By the time the dustbin is empty the water has only dropped a couple of degees.

In high summer there is a continuous supply at 40c when I feed the water directly to the roots. I feel this is the highest temperature I should use and only when the weather has already warmed up.

All my container plants in and out of the greenhouse (and houseplants) get this treatment too.

As far as the gas bill is concerned the four of us are a very clean family - we're always in the shower :o I make the garden the fifth member of our family :lol:

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:54 am

Mr List, provided your soil doesn't waterlog no harm can be done to add warm water now.

I don't think it needs more than 30c - even generous amounts at 25c. When I get round to putting the information for my Trachycarpus on this thread I'll be explaining why the soil here remains the warmest in winter. Most winters see this continuing to grow because of unusually high soil temperatures.

A rise of just a few degrees should hurl your Trachycarpus into a high speed kick-start icon_profileleft icon_profileright

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Dave Brown
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Re: soil warming

Post by Dave Brown » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:56 am

Ah, so your gas water heater is a bit like an electric shower, to give instant hot water. The problem I have is, electric showers can't run on a standard ring main. I am considering a hot tank with 3kw immersion heater but also with the solar panel I made many years ago. I used to get 30Cwater from that in spring/autumn and up to 60C in summer. It would give me about 100ltr at a time.

Until then it is the hose, paddling pool and hot water via a watering can :wink: That is very useful for bulk feeding. I also have an old pond pump which I can immerse in the pool to give me pressure for a hose. icon_thumright Thought about this last year but too late to actually do anything by then.

Mr List, I wouldn't water a Trachycarpus with anything warmer than 20C as these in temperate conditions, not subtropical. They will stop growing in hot conditions. A gentle warming in spring might give a slight advantage, but don't try to rush things. The Palm Booster will speed up establishment. Just be prepared to throw a fleece if we get another bad winter. :wink:
Best regards
Dave
icon_thumright
_________________________________________________
Roll on summer.....
http://www.hardytropicals.co.uk

Axel

Re: soil warming

Post by Axel » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:03 am

Greville, can you tell a bit about your experiences with your Phoenix canariensis_CIDP and warm water?

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:06 am

Dave is absolutely right about the soil temperatures for the Trachycarpus. Once the palm had finished flowering my warm watering treatments stopped as growth always slowed for the summer before picking up again in the autumn. This was probably helped by the occasional use of cold tap water lowering the temperature.

The introduction of 30c water did seem to accelerate the already existing growth on my established plant in comparison with cold water other years. Just a few degrees on the soil temperature seems enough the get optimum growth early on. By May I was always using cooler water at 22 - 25c.

I notice that your Trachycarpus is newly planted and Daves' suggestion of 20c into the rootball is fine. A few applications of slightly warmer water into the surrounding cold soil should encourage the roots to spread out.

The more leaves that have opened fully to receive strong mid-summer sun means better ripening and subsequent frost resistance. The earlier we start growth the better.

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:53 am

Axel, yes - warm water seems to make a particularly big difference to growth on my Phoenix canariensis_CIDP.

While trying to revive my Washingtonia with a couple of doses in the February mild spell I also gave some 30c water to my Phoenix canariensis_CIDP at the same time. This has about 50% leaf burn and shows some scorching on the outside of the upright leaf clusters. I'm sure the spears in the middle are fine. Now we have finally received some welcome sunshine the raised bed on which this is growing is already warming up nicely. The Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is already moving and this weekend I've seen plenty of green in the spear cluster.

As this had a number of fronds snap in strong winds as well it's looking very tatty. I shall be making extra efforts to warm this up simply to get it looking good once again. Right now, it's making my garden look an eyesore. :oops:

I have four pages of information in my file on the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP as it has had an interesting history. I'll put the details of this on my next post. My son is practically manhandling me off the laptop and in this family I'm last in the pecking order to use the computer :shock: So please be patient with me :lol:

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:08 am

Two more items on the hot SW facing house border.

Trithrinax Acanthacoma: Purchased a young specimen with three full fan leaves in a 15litre pot. Planted out summer 1994. Took a number of years to get going but then surprised me by being a vigorous grower.

1995: Warm water weekly. Two leaves, one spear.
1996: Warm water weekly and liquid feed monthly One leaf, one spear.
1997: Cold water and feed. One leaf one spear.
1998: Warm water and feed. Four leaves and one spear. Leaves much larger.
1999: Cold water and feed. Two leaves and one spear.
2000: Warm water and feed. Five leaves, one opening spear.
2001: Warm water and feed. Six leaves and one spear

Plenty of big leaves have proved a problem with this palm, however as there is a large Puya chinensis next door and on windy days the leaves are lacerated against the vicious barbs.
The ever growing problem of crowding and root competition has slowed leaf production to around four per year, but it has reached 2metres to date.

Cycas revoluta: Purchased young plant with 5 leaves 1994. started life as houseplant. Repotted spring 1995 produced flush of seven leaves in August. Overwintered indoors and planted out spring 1996.

1996: Warm water weekly. No new growth.
1997: Cold water and monthly liquid feed. 7 leaves in August.
1998: Warm water and feed. 7 leaves June.
1999: Cold water and monthly liquid feed. No new growth.
2000: Warm water and feed. 11 leaves June.
2001: Warm water and feed. 7 leaves July.

After this time the roots of my well established Washingtonia and an Acacia pravissima have interfered with further growth despite warming the soil. No new growth for two years was followed by 5 smaller leaves in August 2004 and another gap with just 3 leaves in 2007. After another gap in 2008 was followed by new growth being damaged by builders before maturing.

In 2010 I had doubts about its recovery as I was away for much of July and August and it wasn't watered. Upon my return I tried daily doses of hot water and a flush of 7 leaves appeared at the end of September. These were immature and unripe by the time winter arrived but they survived with minor damage due to blanket protection.

I notice the tendency for the flush of leaves to come earlier in the season when given warm water. This gives them more time to ripen befor winter.

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:44 pm

I'll now list the palms and other exotics that have had soil warming to the border in the garden area away from the house.

The growing area here slopes down right to left as you look from the back of the house and is raised along its entire length. The border at the bottom end then runs along a large loading wall along the side of the property all the way to the front. The entire garden front and back is walled so I have perfect shelter. With plenty of sunshine the entire length of border warms up very early and quickly. Warming the soil further with hot water makes an even bigger difference.

I'll begin with my Phoenix canariensis_CIDP at the top end of the garden. The shelter the Phoenix gets here is excellent. A 6 foot high loading wall 13 inches thick holds up the soil in next doors garden. The neighbours conveniently added a 6 foot fence on top of that and with their 30 foot trees the palm has yet to experience northerly wind chill. The patio runs along the length of the boundary wall adding to the potential of stored heat. At the end of it is a 25 foot Gleditsia 'sunburst' adding to the shelter and a purpose built greenhouse and shed structure. All this protection means that even winter sunshine keeps the area warm and most years the palm begins to move before I start using warm water.

The Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is planted slightly raised next to the patio with a rockery/scree arrangement underneath house hardy succulents.

Purchased from the Palm Centre in 1993 as a sizeable 5 foot high specimen in a 35 litre pot, it grew well even into the winter and performed well again 1994.

1995: Warm water and feed. 8 leaves and a spear cluster.
1996: Warm water and feed. 11 leaves and spear cluster
1997: Setback.
A 10 day freeze (lowest -4c, highest +1c) at the start of the year coupled with fine grained snow and a fall of freezing rain glazing everything in ice killed off all the 1996 growth.

The bed on which it was growing was given protection to preserve the succulents underneath along with the palms root run and most of the previous years leaves were tied up and wrapped in fleece. The older, lower lying leaves were not protected and were left to the elements.

In March when I removed the fleece I had to cut away dead leaves that were up to nine feet high and all traces of the spear cluster were pulled out. I realised that the older leaves left behind had been ripened by two or three summers worth of sun and were far more successful at resisting the freeze.

My lack of experience in dealing with this problem was telling when I left the remaining leaves in situ and scooped out all the remaining rot from the growing point. This left a lovely big hole in the centre of the palm to fill up with water every time it rained :shock: However, feeling that the leaves should still stay, I religiously sponged out any rainwater and sprinkled in a dusting of rooting hormone powder as Benlate, the mainstay for all rotting problems was no longer available.

I had decided this year (1997) to withhold my warm water treatments for most palms for comparison purposes but I felt the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP should get some extra warmth to speed up its recovery and this received full hose pipe 35c water drenching twice weekly from April onward.

Nothing at all happened until mid-May when I noticed the existing leaves gradually dropping to ground level. There was still a hole in the middle of the palm when all of a sudden at the beginning of June, almost overnight a 'mound' appeared in the cavity. Within a week some very stunted leaves opened up. The hole was now closed up so anti-rotting treatment was replaced by a feeding programme of high nitrogen soluble fertiliser at weekly intervals. By the end of June a cluster of seven leaves had opened, the last three growing up to six feet. I reverted to standard NPK liquid feed after this time After a lull for about six weeks a flush of four more leaves had opened by mid-September.

Cutting away the stunted leaves and seeing the upright spear cluster standing at around eight feet the palm appeared to have made a complete recovery, all within one season.

1998: Spear cluster opens slowly through winter. Warm water and feed April to August. Approximately 12 leaves by following winter. It is now difficult to count the leaves with the open spear standing some 12 feet high. Cold rains in April delayed more obvious movement till June.

1999: Cold water and weekly feed. Slow movement through mild winter and into spring. Vigorous growth begins in June. Leaves no longer counted but the volume of this years growth about 75% of last year.

2000: Warm water and feed. Vigorous growth begins in May. Volume of leaf growth equals 1998 by the autumn.

2001: Warm water and feed. Vigorous growth noted before May. Volume of leaves up about 25% on previous year's.

To date the increase in height has been checked at the expense of its spread. Lower leaves now have to be cut as it impedes access but it gives me two feet of trunk at present. Spears top out at about 18 feet at present but they seem prone to snapping in gales when opening.

About 50% leaf scorch present after this winter. Two doses of 30c water in February has already helped the spear cluster to move up and open a little. I'm looking to warming the soil earlier this year. The sooner I can replace the untidy growth on this the better.

The Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is perhaps my best performer with soil warming.

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:45 am

Moving down to the next palm is a 'tiddler', compsred to the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP. This is Rhapidophyllum Hystrix. Purchased 1997 as a small three leaf single stem subject in a 3 litre pot

1997: Kept in greenhouse till following spring. One small spear almost opened before winter.

1998; Planted out in border at bottom of garden. (colder spot in winter) Warm water weekly) Spear opened by August

1999: Cold water and monthly liquid feed at half strength. Spear grew slightly but failed to open.

2000; Warm water and feed weekly. One leaf and one spear. New spear coming up at ground level.

2001: Warm water and feed: Two leaves one spear on main stem. New open leaf and one spear on sucker. Plant becoming shaded and crowded.

Shading became a problem in following years and although one leaf and a spear grew quite quickly on each stem in late summer 2003 due to the fierce heat, it was now apparent that lack of sun on its leaves would prevent necessary growth. In 2004 it was moved to its present site against the brick base of the greenhouse. Not only was this a sunniier spot, the radiated heat from the greenhouse and solid base would provide extra warmth. However, roots were damaged in the move and despite plenty of warm water the plant sulked for two years.

In 2007 I achieved two leaves and a spear on the main stem and one new leaf and a spear on the sucker. Also, third small spear appeared at ground level. But disaster struck in September when I rebuilt the greenhouse. I crushed the palm and broke both stems :?

The following years saw some pathetic juvenile leaves come up as suckers and the plant appeared to die in the 2009-10 winter. To my surprise a solitary leaf came up late last summer and this survived last winters freeze undamaged.

So this year I'm starting all over again and in addition to warm watering this palm will be cloched. I'm going to cook it back to health :lol:

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:46 pm

Moving down the garden away from the greenhouse I planted in 1999 a young Trachycarpus Takil (as labelled) This has had only limited soil warming as once established I saw no point in giving this treatment to a cool temperate palm.

Planted late summer 1999: Warm water only to aid establishment.

2000: Warm water and weekly liquid feed at half strength until May. Occasional cold water therafter. Two leaves one spear.

2001: Warm water and weekly feed as above till May. Three leaves one spear.

This has only been handwatered with around 22-25c water. Always last to be treated, the water had cooled down from 30c by the time this was done.

It has produced three to five leaves per year to date with little further attention and currently stands just over one metre.

Axel

Re: soil warming

Post by Axel » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:22 pm

GREVILLE wrote:I'll now list the palms and other exotics that have had soil warming to the border in the garden area away from the house.

The growing area here slopes down right to left as you look from the back of the house and is raised along its entire length. The border at the bottom end then runs along a large loading wall along the side of the property all the way to the front. The entire garden front and back is walled so I have perfect shelter. With plenty of sunshine the entire length of border warms up very early and quickly. Warming the soil further with hot water makes an even bigger difference.

I'll begin with my Phoenix canariensis_CIDP at the top end of the garden. The shelter the Phoenix gets here is excellent. A 6 foot high loading wall 13 inches thick holds up the soil in next doors garden. The neighbours conveniently added a 6 foot fence on top of that and with their 30 foot trees the palm has yet to experience northerly wind chill. The patio runs along the length of the boundary wall adding to the potential of stored heat. At the end of it is a 25 foot Gleditsia 'sunburst' adding to the shelter and a purpose built greenhouse and shed structure. All this protection means that even winter sunshine keeps the area warm and most years the palm begins to move before I start using warm water.

The Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is planted slightly raised next to the patio with a rockery/scree arrangement underneath house hardy succulents.

Purchased from the Palm Centre in 1993 as a sizeable 5 foot high specimen in a 35 litre pot, it grew well even into the winter and performed well again 1994.

1995: Warm water and feed. 8 leaves and a spear cluster.
1996: Warm water and feed. 11 leaves and spear cluster
1997: Setback.
A 10 day freeze (lowest -4c, highest +1c) at the start of the year coupled with fine grained snow and a fall of freezing rain glazing everything in ice killed off all the 1996 growth.

The bed on which it was growing was given protection to preserve the succulents underneath along with the palms root run and most of the previous years leaves were tied up and wrapped in fleece. The older, lower lying leaves were not protected and were left to the elements.

In March when I removed the fleece I had to cut away dead leaves that were up to nine feet high and all traces of the spear cluster were pulled out. I realised that the older leaves left behind had been ripened by two or three summers worth of sun and were far more successful at resisting the freeze.

My lack of experience in dealing with this problem was telling when I left the remaining leaves in situ and scooped out all the remaining rot from the growing point. This left a lovely big hole in the centre of the palm to fill up with water every time it rained :shock: However, feeling that the leaves should still stay, I religiously sponged out any rainwater and sprinkled in a dusting of rooting hormone powder as Benlate, the mainstay for all rotting problems was no longer available.

I had decided this year (1997) to withhold my warm water treatments for most palms for comparison purposes but I felt the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP should get some extra warmth to speed up its recovery and this received full hose pipe 35c water drenching twice weekly from April onward.

Nothing at all happened until mid-May when I noticed the existing leaves gradually dropping to ground level. There was still a hole in the middle of the palm when all of a sudden at the beginning of June, almost overnight a 'mound' appeared in the cavity. Within a week some very stunted leaves opened up. The hole was now closed up so anti-rotting treatment was replaced by a feeding programme of high nitrogen soluble fertiliser at weekly intervals. By the end of June a cluster of seven leaves had opened, the last three growing up to six feet. I reverted to standard NPK liquid feed after this time After a lull for about six weeks a flush of four more leaves had opened by mid-September.

Cutting away the stunted leaves and seeing the upright spear cluster standing at around eight feet the palm appeared to have made a complete recovery, all within one season.

1998: Spear cluster opens slowly through winter. Warm water and feed April to August. Approximately 12 leaves by following winter. It is now difficult to count the leaves with the open spear standing some 12 feet high. Cold rains in April delayed more obvious movement till June.

1999: Cold water and weekly feed. Slow movement through mild winter and into spring. Vigorous growth begins in June. Leaves no longer counted but the volume of this years growth about 75% of last year.

2000: Warm water and feed. Vigorous growth begins in May. Volume of leaf growth equals 1998 by the autumn.

2001: Warm water and feed. Vigorous growth noted before May. Volume of leaves up about 25% on previous year's.

To date the increase in height has been checked at the expense of its spread. Lower leaves now have to be cut as it impedes access but it gives me two feet of trunk at present. Spears top out at about 18 feet at present but they seem prone to snapping in gales when opening.

About 50% leaf scorch present after this winter. Two doses of 30c water in February has already helped the spear cluster to move up and open a little. I'm looking to warming the soil earlier this year. The sooner I can replace the untidy growth on this the better.

The Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is perhaps my best performer with soil warming.
Greville, thanks for this detailed report, it would seem that the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP responds very well to this treatment. is the trunk two feet tall or is that the size of the caudex?

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:05 am

Axel, the trunk on the Phoenix canariensis_CIDP is measured up to the bottom of the lowest petiole. I don't know if I have a natural trunk yet but I have cut off all lower leaves as close to the trunk as possible up to two feet (60 cm).

In addition to assisting access I can distribute my warm water treatment better as well as allowing the sun to get to the soil at the bottom of the palm.

The width of the caudex is currently about 2 feet 6 inches(75cm) as measured from the cut petioles left on the stem.

I can get some pictures to put on this thread but I'll need my wife's help with that, so please be patient :)

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:06 am

Next palm to benefit from soil warming is Jubaea Chilensis.

Purchased 1997 as a juvenile/mature specimen. Overwintered in its 50 litre pot in the greenhouse. Spear partially opened two leaves before planting out in April 1998.

This benefitted from particularly deep rich soil. The existing border had the rockery built on it in 1986 adding an average of two feet of top-soil to a regularly manured bed that had grown fruit and veg for many years.

1998: Warm water weekly. No feeding. Spear opens fully to three leaves and a tight spear cluster still moving slowly by the end of the year.

1999: Cold water. No feeding. Spear opens July to three leaves and small spear by December.

2000: Warm water and liquid feed half-strength weekly.Spear opens June to three leaves and large spear cluster by Autumn

2001: Warm water and feed as above. Spear opens May to give seven leaves and almost open spear by December.

I didn't count the following year but didn't quite match the growth of 2001. However, the hot summer of 2003 not only saw a three leaf spear open fully before June, but a larger spear that followed opened six more leaves in August and September.

My continued habit of overplanting and overcrowding has slowed the growth somewhat but continued warm water treatments start growth in May and about six new leaves are produced every year. New leaves are up to six feet in length.

Warming the soil around the Jubaea always gives this an early start. This weekend while giving it it's first warm shower I noticed that the spear has already opened appreciably after a week of warm sunshine. This shows the value of raised beds in warming the soil. After the very cold start to winter and 35cm of snow melt going into the soil, temperatures below ground must have been particularly low. However, everything in my raised beds seem ahead of normal late March growth.

Next up Butia and Chamaerops growing together.

GREVILLE

Re: soil warming

Post by GREVILLE » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:05 pm

Chamaerops humilis and Butia capitata are growing together planted just four feet apart. The initial intention was to have a clumping fan palm at the base of a trunking Butia. However, my soil warming exercises have not quite produced the desired results.

Both were planted in 1993 as small specimens in 15 litre pots and given warm water treatment with the addition of feeding the following year. Three to four leaves per year were counted on the biggest stem on Chamaerops with two leaves and a spear on the Butia.

Detailed records from-
1995: warm water and half-strength liquid feed weekly April to July
Butia - four leaves one spear. Chamaerops (main stem) five leaves

1996: warm water and feed as above.
Butia - five leaves and one spear. Chamaerops - seven leaves

1997: Cold water and feed
Butia - two leaves and partly open spear. Chamaerops - five leaves.

1998: Warm water and feed
Butia - five leaves one spear. Chamaerops seven leaves, main stem, five new leaves counted on second stem.

By now I realised I should have splashed out on a large specimen of Butia as despite a good response from this with soil warming the chamaerops was out-performing it. I decided from 1999 to give soil warming treatment only to the Butia to encourage it to pull ahead leaving the Chamaerops to take any residue.

1999: Warm water and feed. (Most other palms had cold water this year.) Butia responds with six leaves one spear.

2000: Warm water and feed. Six leaves and one spear.

2001: Warm water and feed. Seven leaves one spear.

Growth on Chamaerops proved almost the same as before but at least the Butia seemed to be pulling ahead.

After excellent growth in the hot summer of 2003, the Butia's regular problem of brown fungal spots appearing on old leaves overwinter intensified. It became necessary to remove the old leaves every year as they were too much of an eyesore. Growth on the Butia has slowed down in recent years, while chamaerops has caught up again. It seems to be developing arborescent tendencies as the two main trunks have five and six feet of stem respectively topped by an impressive head of leaves. This may be down to removing old leaves that have the same fungal problems as the Butia, but to much less extent.

It may be that as the Butia now has some winter scorching on all but the newest leaves the Chammy will leave 'Butie' behind this year :shock:
Attachments
This shows the Chamaerops dominating the Butia.
This shows the Chamaerops dominating the Butia.
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