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Thread: how are the outdoor CPs?

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    We've been getting into the 40s all week, so I decided to take a look at the Sarracenias and other not quite hardy enough plants that spend winters under oak leaves.

    Because of the lean-to I rigged up to keep snow off the leaf pile, I could only get a good look at the big S. leucophylla near the edge. It is nice and bright green and red to within an inch or two of the top of the leaves. The pitchers extend a foot or more above the leaf pile. This winter included a gusty -8F night, a combination of cold and wind I don't remember us having since I moved here 13 years ago (from Maine where it wasn't so unusual).

    This is the first winter I'ved tried to keep snow off completely and the contrast between the plant's condition this year and the same time last year is striking. The problem with snow is it melts in the sun and the water freezes in the leaf pile, forming a suffocating mass of leafy ice.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals ó but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Hi. Do you have a bog or are the plants in pots?? Does the soil ever freeze around the plants?? I have an in the ground bog and I covered it with straw for the winter. A couple of days ago, when it was in the 40's, I uncovered it and I noticed that the soil had frozen on top. Also a little ice had formed on top of the soil. I'm a little worried that my cps might not make it. This was the first time that Iíve wintered them in the bog. I have sarrs, VFTs, and temperate sundews in it and I live in zone 5b. It's the sarrs and VFTs I'm worried about. Oh well, I guess Iíll find out in next month or so.

    -buckeye

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    My plants are in pots. I dig a broad, shallow hole in a raised bed and set pots in one at a time, filling dirt in around them as I go. I leave 1"+ of the pot above the soil. When done, I pile leaves over the top, pulling pitchers and leaves up to keep them vertical. This year I added a lean-to made of a scrap 6 ft x 4 ft section of wood lattice, which I reinforced with 2x2s and covered with landscape fabric (the light gray stuff placed under patios). The lean-to leans on a combination wire/rail fence on the west side of the CPs.

    The ground freezes to below the bottoms of my pots every year, so don't worry about frozen pots. But, if possible, use oak leaves instead of straw next year. Oak leaves don't mat down and allow a good bit of light penetration. A layer of leaves doesn't protect from cold as much as it evens out temperature fluctuations and shelters the plant from the drying wind of Winter and, later, the scorching Spring sun. In a few more weeks, the ground will still be frozen, but the sun will be comparable in strength to late September. That's tough on a shallow-rooted plant.

    Next fall, lie on the ground and have someone cover you with 12"+ of leaves. You'll see what a nice shelter it is.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals ó but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Ok. Thanks herenorthere! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]



    -buckeye

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    It's been one of dem days BigCarnivourKid's Avatar
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (herenorthere @ Feb. 28 2004,18:40)]Next fall, lie on the ground and have someone cover you with 12"+ of leaves. You'll see what a nice shelter it is.
    Thanks, but I think I'll pass on the offer, herenorthere. All I have around here are pine trees (ouch!) [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif[/img] .

    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]
    BCK
    ---Steve Allinger---

    How come chicken fingers are bigger than buffalo wings?

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    I took advantage of the rare early March combination of 50 degrees, sun, and a day off to check the sleeping plants. I removed the leanto and a lot of the leaves and found happy, highly colored plants. The pots are frosty on the outside but not full of ice like in the pre-leanto days. I fluffed up the remaining oak leaves (about half of the original) and re-secured the leanto. We commonly get a good bit of snow in March, but extremely cold temperatures will soon be a memory. Even though our record low for today is 4, we normally don't drop below the upper teens any later than this. That's tolerable for Sarrs., especially with some oak leaves left to buffer temperature swings.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals ó but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Actually, pine needles make a great bog cover mulch, according to some. They are not prone to rot and fungus, plus they add acidity when they start to decompose.

    Regards,

    Joe

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    Pine needles are nice stuff and I like to lay an inch or more on my Cyp. acaules, Calopogon tuberosuses, and other hardy orchids every year. My outdoor CPs are all in live sphagnum, so don't get a permanent mulch. Even though I like pine needles, I haven't tried them as a winter mulch for CPs and, as long as I have an ample supply of pin oak leaves, I won't. When piled up and wet, they seem to soften and pack down. That isn't a problem for a couple inch thick layer of mulch, but an 12" or 18" layer could become a suffocating blanket.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals ó but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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