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  • Advanced User-Fiendly Winterization Protection for In-ground trees ... Heat Lamps?

    Hi all.

    As the time comes to winterize my outdoor inground trees, each year I'm always thinking of more modern / easier way of protecting inground figs over the cold months BESIDES wrapping. The "art" of wrapping is not a sure fire way to protect trees, is laborious, and inconvenient in the early spring when experiencing large temperature fluctuations. It's not easy to unwrap a fig during Spring heat and later have to wrap it again because of sporadic nighttime freezes. Especially so if you have multiple trees in-ground.

    There has to me a more modern way of doing this that provides deep freeze protection perhaps with the inclusion of artificial heat source (not Christmas lights). I was thinking in-ground outdoor lamp spikes with heating bulbs that can be flipped on and off easily during freezing temperatures. Similar to the head bulbs that are used for bathrooms. Also considering a heater / blower but haven't found any that exist for this purpose. Also, the safety of each method would have to be considered.

    I'm sort of favoring the first option but looking for input on effectiveness during freezing temps. How far would I have to place the light from the tree so that it gives just enough heat for protection? I was thinking one light / spike per tree. The bulbs state not to use outdoors but my guess is only for purposes of getting wet. Each bulb is rated for 5,000 which equals 208 days of continuous use.

    Any advice in regard to these or any other methods you have tried would be greatly appreciated! Anything but the darn wrapping!

    This is what I was referring to along with an in-ground light spike positioned "x" feet away from the tree. I'd probably have to put a small awning over it to keep it from getting wet.

    Does anyone think it would be worth a shot? One of these per tree using an outdoor-rated extension cord / hub that can be switched on and off easily?

    Here's a hypothetical rendition just for visualization purposes:

    Last edited by newnandawg; 12-30-2015, 08:35 AM.

  • #2
    Hello Figgi11,

    I'm all for experimenting, I say "Go For It", it may be worth a trial.

    Where are you located? or What Zone? and What is your coldest expected temperatures?
    Lignified fig tree limbs and older trees are usually only damaged by sustained temperatures below ~ 25 deg F.
    Along with cold temperatures in the colder zones there are also cold winds which often do more damage to the fig trees in winter. Trees that are protected by buildings and walls (in micro-climates) often experience less damage than those that more exposed to winds. Good Luck.

    Bill lifigs posted his procedure for wrapping his in ground trees, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...-wrapping-2014 his pictorial instructions show a relatively simple procedure. My plan for the winterization of my in ground trees by pruning, surrounding with a welded wire ring enclosure and filling with pine shavings that can be reused for several seasons, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...6268#post46268 is similar to Bill's leaf filled enclosure, except filled with Pine Shavings. 6 - 12 inches of mounded Pine Shavings have even kept green branches (partially lignified) alive during the past 2 unusually cold winters here in the NE,http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...7502#post37502.
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


    • #3
      I don't think it would work in my location. When it gets to -20 and the wind is blowing I think you would need to circle the tree in lights and have some form of wind protection for it to help out.
      If you lived in a marginally cold area then it might work for you.
      I had made a box to fit over a tree and put a light bulb in it near ground level. When temps got below 10 I turned the light on. The tree came through winter with no dieback. That's pretty close to what you're thinking but I added the cover. I know covering is a pain but there's not much else we can do in an anti fig growing region.
      Wishlist; Green Michurinska, St. Rita
      Sarver, PA Zone 6A.


      • #4
        There's a guy in NE who has an incandescent bulb in his kaki persimmons which are wrapped and turns it on when below 0. Seems to work well.
        SE PA
        Zone 6


        • #5
          The guys who bury lamps or strings of Christmas lights inside their wrapped trees typical control the lights with these thermostats that are also placed under the wrapping to maintain the interior at desired temps.


          Bill - Long Island, NY 7a
          Wish List: Glacia Negra and any fig from Bari.


          • #6
            Originally posted by lifigs View Post
            The guys who bury lamps or strings of Christmas lights inside their wrapped trees typical control the lights with these thermostats that are also placed under the wrapping to maintain the interior at desired temps.


            Hi Bill.

            It's funny you said that because the "ThermoCube" is part of the setup. The outlet turns on when the temp dips below 35 and turns off above 45. My concern is the effectiveness of the heat lamps. The good thing is that unlike blowing heat, the heat from lamps wouldn't be deflected due to wind. The trick would be finding the sweet spot so that the bulb isn't too close or too far from the tree. The purpose isn't to keep the tree warm, just to prevent dieback due to extended / extreme freeze. Each is rated at 500 hours which equates to 208 days of continuous use being more than enough for the season.


            • #7
              I could be very wrong, but limb winter kill is not as bad as the root freezing.. The tree is gone when roots freeze. Here in SW Pa the ground can freeze down to 24". Don't think this idea would work here.

              About freezing in Pennsylvania http://bit.ly/1MLJTQ0

              But there is promise elsewhere like in Fla when the orange trees freeze.....It would be a great help there.
              Chauqg Zone 6b North of Pittsburgh