Frost blankets work well in moderately low temperatures

Q: You wrote about some kind of blanket to wrap your plants with when it gets cold in winter to keep frost from /harming them. Can you tell me where I can buy them?

A: Frost blankets don’t produce any heat. They capture heat radiated from the soil or other surfaces that are warmed by the sun and also protect plants from wind. Wind is a partner in winter damage because warmth radiated from the ground, a nearby wall or even from the trunk of the plant itself is lost quickly if there is air movement pushing it away from its source.

Depending on their use, sometimes they are called floating row crop covers or crop covers. They are pretty much the same, but they are another tool in the “toolbox” for gardeners. These fabric covers permit air and moisture to move through them but trap heat and disperse high light intensities.

Some people use plastic sheeting or blankets to protect plants from frost damage. They act as wind barriers and insulation. But frost blankets trap enough heat to keep crops 4 to 5 degrees warmer during light freezes. Frost blankets are lightweight, don’t have to be washed and are reusable.

I have used frost blankets to cover broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage during cold winter months if I thought the temperatures were going to drop really low. These blankets are rolled on top of plants, stretched over hoops and pinned to the soil so they don’t blow away.

If left on during cool overcast days, they push growth more than leaving plants exposed to the elements. Use them during cool weather, not when temperatures are hot.

They work really well if a few degrees of protection is needed. But if temperatures get too low, they won’t provide enough protection.

I use them for insurance against moderately low temperatures that might damage plants or when you want to push a little bit of growth during cold weather. They are available at local nurseries and garden centers as well as online stores. Two manufacturers of these frost blankets that come to mind are DeWitt and Agribon.

Q: I have grown Utah Sweet pomegranates in Summerlin for several years and only had a few fruit split open near the fall harvest time. Mid-July this year, 40 green fruits split open. I assumed it was from high temperatures, but more kept splitting open through the rest of the year. At least 80 percent of the fruit has split open, and the birds cleaned out all the edible seeds.

A: Harvest times for pomegranates are at different times depending on the variety of pomegranate. The earliest varieties start ripening in September, and other varieties extend the harvest season past Halloween.

The usual reason for early fruit splitting is irregular applications of water: soils alternating between wet and dry. Pomegranates handle high temperatures easily, but they don’t produce well if the water in the soil is limited during its fruiting cycle.

Fruit splitting is a watering issue, not a temperature issue, but the two could be related. If water is not available when the fruit is increasing in size, even for a day or two, the fruit will be smaller because it begins maturing too early. Its outer skin begins to harden early.

Now say it rains heavily. This abundance of water available to the roots is pushed into the fruit, causing the fruit to expand and split. Unusually high temperatures, combined with wind and an unprotected soil surface, can cause drought at times that are unexpected. Irrigation water is supplied according to a clock, but it is too late. The damage is done.

Put a surface layer of mulch 3 to 4 inches deep on top of the soil to slow water evaporation from the soil surrounding the roots. This surface layer of mulch helps to reduce wildly fluctuating amounts of water in the soil when it is hot and windy.

Use woodchips from trees pruned by local arborists. Extend this surface layer of mulch so that it completely covers the soil under the tree canopy to a depth of 4 inches. Make sure these trees receive enough by adding emitters as they get bigger and checking the soil moisture during hot weather.

Birds eat pomegranate seeds after the fruit has split open. They can’t open pomegranate fruit by themselves. Rats gnaw on the outer rind of the fruit, leaving a large, somewhat round gaping hole in the side of the fruit with the inside totally cleaned out. One of the pictures you sent to me looks more like rat feeding than bird damage.

Because rain in the desert happens so infrequently, never use the rain shut off on the controller. Irrigate plants even though it rained, because estimating the amount of rain plants receive is very difficult to do accurately.

Q: A landscaper told us we were watering too much and reprogrammed our box to water less. This was a disaster to a tall pine tree I have. It now looks bad, with lots of dead needles from top to bottom.

A: That was a mistake in judgment by your landscaper. Homeowner irrigation systems are notorious for watering plants unevenly; plants on the same valve not receiving enough water force us to overwater other plants on the same valve.

The overwatered plants are easy to see. The plants receiving just enough water are not. It’s easy to make a snap judgment and assume that everything is being overwatered when it’s not.

Decreasing the number of minutes on an irrigation clock when all plants were “happy” is dangerous, particularly during the summer months. Plants react quickly to a lack of water during summer months.

When decreasing minutes on a clock, do it during the cooler months. Then observe how the plants react to this new irrigation schedule. Plants have a few extra days before they are damaged by a lack of water during the cooler months.

For a short-term fix, buy two or three hose-end sprinklers and attach them to short hoses with a splitter that feeds all the sprinklers at once from the main hose. This can be done for about $25. Connect the main hose to an inexpensive, dial-type mechanical timer at the hose bib and connect the other end to the splitter.

Water at the base of the pine tree for a total of about one hour. This should give the water a chance to soak deep into the soil where the roots are located. If water soaks into the ground easily, apply the water all at once.

If it begins to run off the surface after several minutes, sprinkle water several times with a long pause between irrigations. But the total irrigation time should be about one hour. Water the tree like this once a week for the next month. This should thoroughly wet the roots that grow deeper in the soil.

When you want to make some changes to the irrigation system, make sure your larger trees receive more water in accordance with the amount of time on the irrigation clock.

Q: I planted pampas grass in one area of my yard, and it never grew more than 3 feet tall. I moved it to an area in full sun a couple years ago, fertilized and watered it well. It still never got to more than 3 feet tall.

A: You did not mention if it ever flowered or not. It sounds like you have a dwarf variety of pampas grass. Dwarf pampas grass grows 3 to 4 feet tall and no taller. A lack of water would show up as browning of the leaves, and it would appear to be struggling. They are very hardy and should grow to their full height if getting enough water and have no other problems.

The dwarf variety flowers when it is old enough. I like dwarf varieties better for home landscapes because of their smaller size and reduced maintenance.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. Send questions to Extremehort@aol.com.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Driver dies in single-vehicle crash
One person is dead after an early Wednesday morning crash in the northwest valley. The single-vehicle crash was called in about 1:35 a.m. on Jones Boulevard just north of Deer Springs Way, according to Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Robert Stauffer. The driver, who was the only person inside the vehicle, died at the scene.
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services On Thursday, Uber launched its Uber Health platform for healthcare providers. Medical facilities, rehab centers, clinics and hospitals can book rides for patients from a centralized dashboard – no app required. According to Techcrunch, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber noted some 3.6 million Americans miss appointments due to lack access to reliable transportation. Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. Last summer, over 100 healthcare organizations joined the platform during a private beta. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas firefighters put out blaze along Bonanza Road
Las Vegas firefighters put out a blaze that burned for about 15 minutes Feb. 20, 2018, along Bonanza Road, across from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Jeff Mosier/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like