Cold?

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Cold?

Post Number:#1  Postby Spination » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:14 pm

Last year, it was apparent to me quite early on that it was going to be a wet winter. It was. Also, last year, and probably because we had so many cloudy days that carried that rain in, the cold didn't start until mid December, and although there was an unusual # of frost/freeze days (32F and below) compared to previous years, and that it was spread out all the way from mid December until the 1st week of March... I think yet it was still mitigated by the amount of rain and cloudy days. This year, not much in the way of rain, and worse yet, not much in the way of cloudy days (or more importantly - cloudy nights). As such, I've already lost count of the # of 32F AMs already, and it's still a week before it even started last year. One, two, three - easy to remember. I think it's more like a half-dozen already. Starting with last year's 12/16-17 30F, we had 20 freeze days until March 2, when it was 30.5F 3/1, and not counting the 32.5 on the morning of 3/2. The only good so far, is that there was only one 30, and otherwise, 32 seems to be an exact barrier to the cold, at least up to now.

Why am I so concerned with the 32F cutoff? Water freezes at 32F. Succulents, by definition, hold a lot of water. The longer it's 32F or lower, the bigger the problem. An hour - probably not a big deal. All night, a bigger deal. Other mitigating factors include how much rain we're getting followed by cold before things can dry out. Wet soil means saturated leaves, means more water within the plant to freeze. Dry soil, less water being held by the plants, so less effect by the cold that comes with that magic 32 number and lower.

It's also pretty weird how the current cold is happening. Last night, I didn't bother covering borderline stuff (Aloe pillansi, etc), because the forecast was 37F low. At 4 AM or so, it was 38F - great! At 6 AM - 32F!!! Are you kidding me? Too late to run outside and do something, those horses already got out of the barn. Add to the weirdness, @ 8 AM, I'm listening to the local news, where they're listing temps around the Bay Area. Novato - 30F (10 miles west), Santa Rosa 33F (10 miles north), and Napa 36 (10 miles east). The thermometer right outside said 32 at that time. That's a fair amount of variance from 10 miles this way, or 10 miles that way...

It's early, but I'm feeling this year is going to be a rough one for the plants. It doesn't feel like we're going to get anywhere near last season's rain totals, and that also probably means a lot of clear nights. We haven't even hit the solstice, when typically the thermometer really starts turning south...

Yeah, I know there's still a lot of deniers of GW. Our atmosphere is just fine. Nothing has changed. Bull. Every year, the weather is bringing new surprises, new records, more change, at a faster and faster pace. Call it what you want, or don't call it what you don't want to believe... all I know, it's getting tougher to keep a medium to large collection of plants in good shape, trying to stay ahead of the clear and obvious changes and resulting challenges with conditions that are not friendly to keeping plants looking good, or even alive in some cases. I can also tell another thing, that seems rather extreme. The difference between a cloudy night, to a crystal clear night is a minimum of 10F, and more - up to a 20 degree difference. What that tells me, is that without clouds, and more so than I can ever remember seeing (and feeling), the atmosphere is letting the heat out like never before. Why else would the mere presence of clouds make such a huge difference, from one day to the next, and consistently so? The irony is the clear sunny day brings the high higher, but at night, the lows are lower anyway... That heat the sun added during the clear, sunny day means nothing at all if there's no clouds at night to hold it in.

So, just now, as a final touch, and a double-check, I asked myself if my memory is perhaps faulty, and perhaps I'm just one of the nutbags some folks think we are who recognize that GW is actually a thing... so I googled "why are winters getting colder?".

I didn't have to dig at all. Yeah, apparently, it's not my imagination. My memory is still working just fine, and my mind can actually recognize and distinguish how it was 20 years ago, compared to 10 years ago, compared to 5 years ago....and now where I can't even keep up with how fast it all keeps changing!
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/201 ... hange-spd/
http://mashable.com/2017/09/22/polar-vo ... s2MxRrDkq9 (this one is interesting. Increased GW ------>weakened Polar Vortex------>colder winters )


Good luck this year. I think it's going to be a rough one with the cold.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#2  Postby Stan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:39 pm

We touched 39F on the 7th...otherwise its been 40's for lows. Its a fact for Hayward ( I don't know about all the bay or soucal) that EVERY great freeze since 1972(18f) has been less freezy than the last. 24F in 1990,28f in 1998, 30f in 2007,and that last has been the coldest for the last decade with one night here or there hitting 30f. Its why the USDA bumped us up from 9b in the 70's to today's 10a. I know I've read soucal inland people say they haven't noticed a change- some say that- and others say at the soucal coast it has changed,with ocean waters being warmer in summer and lasting warm later in the year.
I think a trigger ( the new in word) is urban size. If you are in rural areas maybe you dont notice it as much.
With microclimate managing- our yards- I think experienced gardeners can get more tender plants to thrive long before it becomes easy for everybody. I'm watching Pandanus with a close eye this year. For all I know it might be the next bay area Aloe marlothii or Agave attenuata. From "they wont last" to being seen as city street dividers in less then 20 years.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#3  Postby Spination » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:58 pm

Yeah, I know how nice it is to live closer to the bay, than further. It makes a HUGE difference between freezing, and not even that close to freezing (like your 40F). I've lived in the Bay Area since '64. South Bay, East Bay, on the coast, and North Bay. I have a good feel for the general climate, and also for the micro-climates. By the way - while it was 32 here this AM - in Half Moon Bay... it was 66!!! Heaven! Even here in the North Bay though, for some years now...here's what I remember as "normal". Somewhere around mid December through January, there was going to be freeze. Don't know when exactly, but you could count on it, and about a week's worth. Once you got it, made it through, that was pretty much it. We were good until the next winter. Not time after time, but by and large, that is the way it was. Piece of cake - at least compared to what is "normal" now. Honestly, there is no normal now, because every year, it's changing faster than my ability to recognize what is normal. There's no more pattern, no more expectation or what I can count on. It's fly by the seat of your pants, and watch the forecasts like a hawk, and don't even dare to trust them completely. As it is now, it can drop from a no-problem 38 F, to a somewhat worrisome 32 in two hours flat, well past the middle of the night, into the early AM hours. That really blows. And no, there was no wind to speak of... :lol:
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#4  Postby Stan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:38 pm

I also agree that the freeze period is December- Mid January. You might even bet on it only being the 3rd week of December to the 2nd week of January. After that, our,long,long,spring starts.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#5  Postby Stan » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:25 pm

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todays photos.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#6  Postby Spination » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:22 am

Nice plants Stan. Brings me back to growing up in Burlingame - where my Mom's green thumb caused bougainvillea growing, among many other things I've tried and failed multiple times to keep alive up here. We were within 3/4 mile of the water, and like I said, the closer to the bay, the more mild the temps. You can dare to dream of growing successfully all manner of more tropical plants that are a fool's errand to try grow up this way.

This AM, and as I write - the internet data says 30 F here, my thermometer says 31 F. Anyway, colder than yesterday by at least a degree. Water containers give me a better picture. Out in the open - iced over. Under any kind of shelter (bushes, trees...) no ice on top.

Glad my attitude last night was I wasn't going to fall for another bogus forecast 2 days in a row. Covered my sensitive stuff with sheets last night that I don't want damaged. Good thing, because 31 is a far cry from the 38 they said it would be. Like I said, can't trust the forecasts anymore. It makes me think that conditions are so volatile these days, the weather models and weather experts can't even accurately predict anymore. A couple of years ago, I could make bets and clean up that they'd be within a degree, almost without fail. No more... looks like. So that's my newest revelation for this year. Forecasts are at best only mildly useful for planning ahead - and I'm not talking about forecasts days into the future. I'm talking about HOURS into the future.

EDIT - It works both ways too. About a week ago, there were Freeze Warnings the night before... nope, not even close. I think that might have given me a false sense of security. If I take that into consideration, the total range of error now including either above or below the target, can be somewhere in the vicinity of 15 or more degrees. I mean really... that helps me how?
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#7  Postby Jkwinston » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:39 am

Wow Stan, you are in the lucky part of the world. We have had our coldest weekend so far this year, minus 0 degrees. Just when I thought it was all over, down came the snowfall which lasted all day. This is our first snow in London for the year, and it took me by surprise. As usual, there were still numerous plants hanging around outdoors when they should be hidden in my basement. I jumped out of bed, and seeing what was happening, managed to salvage some of the things that needed to be in the basement, but there are still a few out there. Although December 1st is my deadline, I am never truly quite ready for the winter. My greenhouse are coping with my fan heaters, but I worry about the Christmas. Next weekend, I will be off to Trinidad for two weeks, leaving the plants to fend for themselves. I pray that all will go well. After all, we are entitled to have our other pleasures. Jkw

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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#8  Postby Spination » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:54 am

That's a beautiful photo Winston - but unfortunately for probably a few of those plants perhaps, the beauty won't benefit them much. Yes, I have the same difficulty as you. I never really ever seem to be quite ready for the cold, when it arrives.

I see we've employed the same type of greenhouse kits. :U For the price, a rather unbeatable solution to provide protection for a fair # of plants. I've got 3 years now out of my oldest one, and I think I've gotten more life out of the covering by also employing shade cloth on top. My oldest one needed an additional layer of plastic in between the shade cloth and the kit's cover as a quick-fix, done in the last couple of weeks, as the material was deteriorating enough to allow the rain inside... ::wink:: Anyway, those kits are cheap enough, it's even worthwhile to buy a new one the same size, and just use the new cover over the same framework... maybe next year for me.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#9  Postby Stan » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Sort of lucky JK...It could be better in Honolulu! Home Depot has a nice small greenhouse for sale- but at 4x4x6' tall...seems like a very small space. Still,if I had that,all my deceased Adeniums,Crotons, and Sanseveria's would be looking great. Plus,as a seed starter. What do you all think?
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#10  Postby Spination » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:53 pm

You'd be amazed at what you could do with a small space efficiently lined with shelves. I made my own with wood and 1/2" conduit as framing, and using old car side-glass as shelves, so to minimize loss of light on lower shelves. Also, my shelves much cheaper than store or online bought, and stronger too than those crappy made from plastic ones supposedly made for greenhouse use. Those are a joke. Take one guess what happens when the temps rise to the 100 F or more? Plastic gets soft, bends, and before you know it, you've got collapsed shelves and prized plants helter-skelter on the floor.

It's also great to be able to count on something extra space-wise to stash away those more iffy cold-tolerant plants when/if freeze hits...

I'd say... go for it!
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#11  Postby Jkwinston » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:09 pm

Tom you are so right, and yes, I did acquire this added greenhouse because it was cheap and better than what I had before. Last year I used just a large plastic cover with a home-made structure, which did not do the job satisfactorily. I have noticed that the plants like to be covered, and do much better than being in the basement receiving natural light. As it is the first year for my structure, I am keeping my eye on them, and they are regularly inspected, and they look fine. If the plastic disintegrates, I will add some bubble wrap over the main structure as second cover. If that fails, I simply use the kind of plastic which I use for the poly tunnels and improvise a new cover because the structure is fine.

Stan, a greenhouse is always useful; just invest in the biggest size possible as you will soon find more than enough plants to fill it. You will fill it in no time. Jkw
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#12  Postby Spination » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:54 am

Well, 4th AM in a row of 32 or lower. 30 F this AM, and as having too much going on and still only 24 hours in a day to do it, I forgot to cover last night. Ice in water buckets - that's not a good sign. Too early to see the consequences, as an icicle doesn't melt while it's still frozen... Could have been worse though, some 5 or so miles away in Petaluma recorded 24. Nothing to do now but hope, and try not to be so feeble-minded again going forward. ::x
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#13  Postby Stan » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:26 pm

41F here and a nice 65f right now. We could get to 67-68f by 4pm. Funny that we warm up at that time of day- then plunge so fast as it gets dark an hour later.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#14  Postby Spination » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:31 pm

AM news showed Bay Area temps (the lows - because the word was "cold!") - and the Oakland area was higher than anyone else around!

PS A lot of 20s recorded all over
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#15  Postby Stan » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:06 pm

SpineTom- Here's a nighttime bay area photo (sideways). Follow the San Mateo Bridge east in a straight line to that thin north to south bright white line ( Mission blvrd -East 14th street) and in that glow is me. Sonoma seems to be like an archipelago of light..so not as much urban heating.
For others,the San Mateo bridge is south of the Bay Bridge leading to San Francisco. Its second bridge from the south end of the bay...look close and the dotted lights are the Dumbarton Bridge. A tiny thing.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#16  Postby Spination » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:19 pm

An interesting perspective. Took a few minutes to visualize the correct rotation of the photo (clockwise) and then everything is clear. Can see all 5 bridges, and the surrounding geography with brightly lit dense populations makes me realize that those areas are generating some heat, to take the edge off the cold that's got to affecting all those dark areas more.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#17  Postby Spination » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:29 am

Whew..... another 30 F, and the "coldest" one so far. How can one 30 be worse than another? It started much earlier in the AM, so it was 30 earlier, and longer. And visibly, outside this AM, a lot of white and iced over water, even under the bushes and trees. That's 5 in a row now (of exactly freezing or lower). I will be so grateful when/if there's a change in the weather. Bring on the rain!!! (and those warming clouds...)
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#18  Postby Stan » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:00 am

Santa Rosa was 28f...SF was 47f. Like a bubble over the City! We dipped in the eastbay to 37-40f. Cold,but not killer. We are running at 65F highs,40F low's.
Soucal is having a Hayward June-Sept summer in December. 80f and 55f.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#19  Postby Stone Jaguar » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:17 pm

Loving this winter so far. Recent low was 40 F with nice, sunny days in mid 60s such as Stan mentions. Still have bonsai baobab outside...just starting to drop leaves! Fingers crossed; looks like same trend for next week or so.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#20  Postby Spination » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:30 pm

Yup, you and Stan in the same nice boat - living the dream by the Bay. It was long ago... but I do remember :cry:
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#21  Postby Spination » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:05 am

Another day, another 32 F. I think the most amazing (in a good way) thing is that 30 has been the threshold so far. 20s would be brutal. This AM, I started removing the sheets just before the sun was making contact. Funny removing sheets that seem more like stiff cardboard. It also really emphasizes the benefit of tossing the sheet over. I have bamboo stakes in the pots, reaching above the highest leaves, so that the sheets aren't exactly touching, so freeze isn't getting through the cover and transferring to the foliage. Anyway, the benefit is that moisture which condenses in the evening is being picked up by the sheet, and then freezing on that, instead of on the plant, which takes the edge off. Otherwise, I'm sure it's not actually any warmer under the sheet than above by the time morning rolls around and the sun comes up... So far, barberae, plicatillis, pillansii, Hercules, and Goliath all look OK - those ones all too large and pots too big to move around, and even less find sheltered space for them (there isn't any). Fortunately, sabaea, tongaensis, and ramosissima are small enough that they enjoy inside space and not forced to remain outside - so no concern there at all. One other wonderful thing - big Aloe polyphylla is already built for the cold. So, no problem and no worries with that one.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#22  Postby Stan » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:24 am

Things are still changing climate wise. I remember years ago,all the Jacaranda tree's in south San Jose- furthest from the bay- were all just shrubby things. You could see where 1990 and later had killed them back to the trunk..and they re-sprouted. Yet,in other parts of San Jose- closer to the bay and more recently planted, You can see huge GBOP and Tipuanu tree's and even trunking Majesty palms happy in that near ( but not quite) frost and freeze less climate with 82f average summers.
I get a kick out of seeing all this in one mans lifetime-mine.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#23  Postby Gee.S » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:59 pm

That's not cold. If you want to know cold, I'll introduce you to my ex-wife.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#24  Postby Spination » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:07 pm

Been there, done that. ::wink:: I mean, I have one of my own.
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Re: Cold?

Post Number:#25  Postby Gee.S » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:08 pm

Crap. I knew she got around....
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