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  • Using Heat Lamps for additional warmth inground covered trees?

    So the weather forecast in NJ is predicting below freezing temps from tonight until next Tuesday with bone chilling lows (possible below zero) on Saturday and Sunday. Although you can see that my inground trees are well protected, I'm thinking that extra protection will be needed to prevent die back since it will be below freezing for 6 consecutive days.

    I know it's not the safest method, but has anyone ever used heat bulbs in outdoor spike lights as added protection for your covered figs? Specifically where you have multiple days well below freezing. I don't want to overheat either. I'm thinking about running an extension cord for each tree to a spike light a certain amount of feet away from the tree as an additional heat source. I don't have christmas lights to use. My concern is, besides safety concerns, is whether or not this would work and how far away to place the lamp.

    Any advice would be helpful! Thanks.

  • #2
    Okay, I caved in and bought the supplies at Home Depot. I plan to put it on a time to cycle on and off. How many hours would be good? 3 on, 3 off? I don't want to overheat. Also how far should I place the spike with the bulb from the tree? It's a 120w heat reflector bulb. Thanks.

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    • #3
      Figgi11,

      Being in Florida I am about the last person to give you advice, BUT.......I have a friend that lives not too far from me but while I am in a warm micozone he is in a very cold microzone. He is trying to keep citrus alive until they are big enough to be able to take more cold and what he uses is a string of old fashioned Christmas lights which you can still buy and they make a thermostat that you can plug them in to that comes on at 35 and shuts off 45. The Christmas lights provide gentle heat but it won't fry the tree. He lays the coil of lights around the tree on the ground and covers the tree with a PVC frame and plastic but he wants light so has to remove the plastic once the sun gets hot. Since the fig is dormant you could use a tarp that would not heat up in the sun as much. Just a thought. Here is a link to the thermostat.

      http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovator...+in+thermostat
      Cutting sales start Nov 1 at 9PM eastern time as always at willsfigs.com

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      • #4
        It's such disappointment as temps are supposed to bounce right back!

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        • #5
          What about something like this. You are already running an power to the light.
          http://www.homedepot.com/p/Frost-King-18-ft-Automatic-Electric-Heat-Cable-Kit-HC18A/100196820
          PPP
          Eatonton, GA zone 7b/8a

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          • #6
            already got the bulbs!

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            • #7
              It looks like you'll be the first to try it. I wouldn't have a long off cycle. Are you using 1 light per tree? Meaning you'll have a warm side and a cold side? What's covering the tree?

              What I'd do it set it up, shine the light on the tree (I'd run at least 2 per tree) and put your hand by the tree under the insulation every 5-10 min or so to see if you can feel the warmth. Or if you have a thermometer leave it in there and get readings every 5-10 min which would be much better. Digital thermometers are cheap so get one. Leave it on long enough to gain 10 degrees, then turn them off until you lose 5. Then let it run like that, check temps and adjust as needed. Another way would be to leave them on all night at the distance required to maintain 30 degrees above ambient if you expect -10, as an example.
              Bob C.
              Kansas City, MO Z6

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              • #8
                Hmmmm...... Is interesting idea and if you buy bulbs already you may well try it. Tis example to everyone in cold zones. Is why is MUCH better to plant tree on angle so you can bend it over and down to ground level in winter and have the warmth of the ground under the tarp warm the bottom half and the things you use to insulate the top keeps top half warm. Until tree is large enough to grow straight up single trunk like pons or Paolo bury on angle. When is big enough best way is to build wooden box around it. Is how I will do it for couple my trees tis winter at farm. I no have room for wood box in front my home so I must do tarp ways as well. I hope tis heat lamp work well for you!
                Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                • #9
                  **UPDATE**

                  Finished the experiment. Took less than an hour.

                  Supplies:

                  5 x 250w Red Heat Lamps
                  5 x Bell Weatherproof Portable Spike Light
                  5 x 50-ft Outdoor Extension Cords
                  2 x 15-ft 3-outlet Extension Cables
                  1 x 2-outlet Timer

                  Timer is set to 3 hours on / 3 hours off intervals. Had to go back to Home Depot and exchange the 125w clear heat lamps for the 250w red ones because the 125w didn't give off enough heat. I tested the heat intensity by moving the spikes around until I felt a little warmth on the tarp. The bulbs look close but I was surprised to find that the outdoor bitter cold environment significantly impacts the intensity of the lamp as opposed to using it indoors at the same distance. My hope is that the tarp absorbs just heat to prevent the trees succumbing to dieback from the bitter cold for the next 5 days. This winter has been quite mild that I'd hate for a short Arctic blast to cause significant dieback.

                  This setup may also come in handy during the early Spring to prevent damage to new growth during the inevitable night or two that temps dip below freezing after the trees have already been uncovered.
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                  • #10
                    Culli ..... !

                    Insulation is very warm... Lights even warmer... You must watch moisture if you do tis,.....
                    Also put light on side get no sun again I never do tis but the light look warm! Great luck to you experiment !
                    Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                    1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                    2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Taverna78 View Post
                      Culli ..... !

                      Insulation is very warm... Lights even warmer... You must watch moisture if you do tis,.....
                      Also put light on side get no sun again I never do tis but the light look warm! Great luck to you experiment !
                      Yes, I made sure the light is on the north side. Thanks for the tip.

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                      • #12
                        Just went on as scheduled. Nighttime shot!

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                        • #13
                          Look belle Amico I just hope is no too much... You tree look wonderful tall and manicured judge by covering. If you get them grown tis tall alreDy I no think you need lights. Just me say but remember they can withstand 20 degree minus for few nights with no die back. If is too hot inside protection they may get moisture and rot.

                          I wrap exact same as you 3 year now without lights in Chicago very cold some day and no die back.... In spring here which is still most member winter I open up and is okay. If you get too humid vent bucket or no more lights as it will rot or worst be fine then moisturized and then free and dead. Just be very careful is all I try explains.
                          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
                          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Taverna78 View Post
                            Look belle Amico I just hope is no too much... You tree look wonderful tall and manicured judge by covering. If you get them grown tis tall alreDy I no think you need lights. Just me say but remember they can withstand 20 degree minus for few nights with no die back. If is too hot inside protection they may get moisture and rot.

                            I wrap exact same as you 3 year now without lights in Chicago very cold some day and no die back.... In spring here which is still most member winter I open up and is okay. If you get too humid vent bucket or no more lights as it will rot or worst be fine then moisturized and then free and dead. Just be very careful is all I try explains.
                            It's been such a mild winter I would hate for 6 days of straight bitter cold to ruin it. As soon as temps bounce back to upper 40s on Tuesday, the lights will be off permanently. Again, they are only on at 3 hour intervals during the daytime and 4 on / 2 off from dark to daybreak to offset any excessive heat buildup.

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