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Old 09-28-2007, 10:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
microfarmer
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Location: Zone 9 Sack-o-tomato, CA
Zone: CA zone 9b
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Default Re: "Marginal" Protection

I use the Christmas lights with cotton sheets over my citrus with excellent success. The frost coats the sheet and makes a frozen shield over the tree crown. Last winter I had no leaf or fruit loss on my still somewhat immature Grapefruits and Mandarin/Navel oranges and tangelo and tangerine trees, but total leaf and fruit loss on my unprotected, much larger and older lemons, and my baby lime totally bit it.

I didn't have any bananas in the ground, so nothing to compare. I will use this method for the bananas. I'm thinking the tree trunk wrap type lights would add a boundry layer heat directly to the P-stem. My only concern is possible burning spots into and the subsequent rotting of the outer leaf sheaths causing total P-stem rot.

A wrap that drys quickly under the lights is a good idea. I might have to look into this Agribon 50/polypropalene stuff. Could I just get regular polypropalene cloth at a fabric store? Anything made 'especially' for gardening (or any other 'special' purpose) usually ends up costing a 'special' price, too.

I am also going to place some river rocks (I just happen to have laying around my yard) around the base of each mat for thermal mass and a black plastic covering over the ground to reduce the soil moisture from all the rain and raise the soil temperature due to thermal absorbtion. Even in winter, you can raise the air temp a few degrees on a still, clear night.

I used to water the citrus if it was going to be really cold, but found it just wasted a lot of water, and I cannot use that method on the bananas.
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There is no excuse for still having grass. I haven't mowed in 20 years. With all that space, I could plant another 100 bananas.
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