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  • Winterizing idea...large pipes?

    I know it's May and we only just got into growing season, but with my new plantings I'm already pondering how to winterize the young plants. I like things that are cheap and simple; last year I just piled mulch on top of plants. All survived with pretty heavy dieback, but with the temperatures we experienced I don't think much I could have done would have helped.

    Has anyone used larger diameter (PVC or otherwise) pipes for winterizing? I'm imagining wrapping the branches up tight and putting the the pipe over the plant pruned to 2-4' tall. Probably fill the pipe with an insulating material and loosely cap with a pot for air flow. I'd surround the lower portion of the pipe with mulch as well, I guess the top could be further wrapped in tarps or something too.

    I have access to some 4" and 6" diameter pipes...maybe just a foolish scheme, who knows? Once upon a time, before I was interested in figs (that was a dark time in my life), I saw a picture of someone who put trash cans over all of their figs for the winter. That would be effective, but pricey and not too workable for my site.
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

  • #2
    This past year I vertically buried my in-ground fig and it survived and is leafing out nicely.

    My in-ground fig is in a bottomless whisky barrel and last fall I put stacks around the inside of the barrel to a height of roughly 3 feet above the top of the whiskey barrel, all branches above the fencing were trimmed off. I put a couple stakes in the center of the whiskey barrel and tied all the fig branches together and towards the center of the barrel. I wrapped some fencing around the outside of the stakes and then "buried" the fig with composted shredded leaves from my compost pile.

    Over the top of the fig I filled a large 18 gallon pot with leaves and then turned it upside down. Around the fencing/overturned pot I wrapped R-19 insulation (it's what I had in the basement). Once all the was done, I covered with 6mil plastic and tied it down.

    This was only my first year doing it this way but it seems to have worked out ok.

    I wish I had taken some pictures when I unwrapped it but I'll take some this fall when I do it again.



    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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    • #3
      I would be afraid that a 4 or 6 inch pipe would not be large enough for adequate insulation, but maybe a 2 ft diameter or larger pipe, fill with mulch, cover end.
      Ed
      SW PA zone 6a

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      • #4
        I've seen pictures of growers using 55 gallon plastic barrels and others forming a larger diameter cylinder out of garden fence with an outer tarp shell. I would also echo Ed's comment on the 4" and 6" pipe.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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        • #5
          Ideally a much larger diameter pipe would be used, but that is pricey! Maybe I'll go to a scrapyard...
          https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
          SE PA
          Zone 6

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          • #6
            I simply wrap my vertical in ground trees easily...
            Home Depot 1 roll pink wall insulation and plastic tarp and the black mesh for put between soil and mulch to stop weed from growing thru

            Tie up fig
            Wrap black mesh completely around tree
            Wrap tree paper side out insulation
            Wrap with tarp and tie off
            Surround bottom of tarp with rock weight and cover rocks with mulch.
            Slice few 2 inch cuts in tarp for air.

            I'm in Chicago zone 5 never lose a tree tis way ever. No die back. No mold.
            Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
            1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
            2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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            • Kelby
              Kelby commented
              Editing a comment
              I have no doubt this is a very effective method. My problem is that I will have close to 15 in ground trees going into this winter, and lack of time to put that much work into winterizing all of them.

          • #7
            I normally wrap black mesh a week or two before I wrap with other stuff. Or if you have space to store them invest in round plastic garbage can. Cut out bottom put over tree and fill with hay or leafs. You still should wrap with mesh or even burlap so no direct contact between tree and your insulator will cause mold.
            Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
            1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
            2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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            • #8
              I know for construction people use the concrete tubes to fill cement with ..

              http://www.homedepot.com/p/SAKRETE-1...0006/100350260

              Also this

              http://www.spiralpaper.com/concrete-...bes-s/1825.htm


              I think they are called Sonotubes?
              Zone 6a Orange County NY

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              • #9
                I've got a compost pile support that I'm planning on using for tree protection here. Even though the freezes are rarely below 25 degrees, several trees I pruned last year had frost damage through half of their limbs with rot and decay following. The support is constructed of 2x4 welded wire with a redwood 2x4 stappled securely to each end of the wire...the wire is 5 feet wide and 12 feet long...when formed into a circle it's about 4 feet in diameter and 5 feet tall.

                On the 2x4's I've installed 2, old, loose pin door hinges, securing half a hinge on each of the 2-2x4's. Removing the pins from the hinges allows you to separate the 2x4s and unwrap the compost pile and move the wire to a new location. I was thinking about wrapping a tied tree with the wire and filling the interior with loose straw, allowing the rain to pass through...in the spring...remove the wire and spread the straw as mulch...the wire stacks flat or leans up against the barn till next winter. I'll go take some photos and add them a little later.

                This way your using old hinges, old 2x4's usually available at or near construction sites and of course the wire....which I've had wrapping a compost pile for nearly 35 years....it lasts well, but you do have the initial investment. I used fence staples to secure the wire to the 2x4's and old screws for the hinges...not pretty but it works.

                And...yes Sal...they are called Sonotubes...and you can get them in 3 foot diameter as well...pricey
                Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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                • #10
                  How about culvert pipe? It comes in HDPE or steel and in an array of diameters. The HDPE would need to be anchored in areas with high wind which would be easy since its plastic. Additionally the HDPE will be easier cut and move around.
                  Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                  “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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                  • Kelby
                    Kelby commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I think I'll visit a scrap yard this summer and keep my eyes open at junk piles for any piping pieces.

                  • COGardener
                    COGardener commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm going to build a 4 foot 5 sided insulated cube with a 25 or 40 watt incandescent bulb inside on a thermostat. I'm going to paint it white to stave off heat on the ample nice days we have over summer. It will have a hinged top and front that can be opened on nice days to simulate the garage shuffle.

                    I don't know how well it will work but I think it's worth a try. The one main problem is if the power goes out, so the light will be plugged into a UPS.

                • #11
                  How about pvc drain pipe? I've seen it up to 10' in diameter. I would think a 4' diameter pipe would be easy to handle, to secure, to fill/insulate and to top...I don't have this problem yet as I have not planted permanent trees. I'm looking forward to solutions brought forward through this post.

                  BTW, For many years a friend used concrete insulation blankets that were no longer usable for construction...quite a find Aye! His tree was 20+ years old and about 15' x 10'. The past two winters damaged it. She finally succumbed to the bitter winter temperatures....below zero for days.😞
                  Chauqg Zone 6b North of Pittsburgh

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                  • Kelby
                    Kelby commented
                    Editing a comment
                    PVC is what I am speculating about using, yup.

                • #12
                  something we're embarking on with our tomatoes this year .....texas tomatoe cages.....a little pricey, but they fold flat for storage and provide a 24" diameter ring 6 feet tall with extensions available for them and....they're made to last...insulation blankets could be wrapped around them and heat matts installed at the base...all which are flat for storeage

                  after wrapping them you could fill the interiors with whatever of reasonable insulation value which would compost out.

                  keep in mind that these winter "fig cozy's" need to be stored all spring and summer...somewhere. We're lucky here with large barns around the place for storeage...not all fall into that case

                  storing 4' diameter pvc or abs piping could be an issue....especially if you're married....
                  Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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