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arctictropical

Inside Pics of palm boxes for winter protection

arctictropical
15 years ago

I'd had several people who wanted to see pictures of the inside of my Styrofoam palm boxes that I use to protect 6 and 10' outdoor palms in zone 4. I've tried many different patterns and they all seem to work. Here are the insides of my 8' palm box, a 4' palm box, the 10' Trachy getting ready for winter, and the 8' box during last year's winter. They're not very pretty inside, but they keep the palms cozy all winter long.

Comments (34)

  • billn119
    15 years ago

    That is similar to mine. Is that your only heat source and if yes how warm does it stay inside? Bill

  • jimhardy
    15 years ago

    In the interest of cold hardy palm people everywhere put a thermometer with min/max function in there.I think its amazing that those lights keep it warm enough. B.T.W.that is one of the most beautiful trackys I've seen anywhere!the trunk looks like bigfoots leg!great job,very impressive palm

  • dln949
    15 years ago

    jimhardy: Like you, I'd like to know the temperatures inside arctictropical's boxes. For what its worth, I'll toss in my experience.

    Last week I set up a box very similar to arctictropical's - I stole, I mean borrowed, several ideas from him. My palm tree is only 6' tall, so I'm using only two lights instead of 3. Also, my lights are plugged into a thermostat that kicks in at 35, and turns off at 55. Last night, I went to bed, the ambient temp was 33, inside the box it was 42 (the lights had not yet come on). Overnight we had a low of 23. Inside the box, the lowest it got was 33 - so I guess that's about when the lights came on - and the highest it got was 52.

  • arctictropical
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Hello Bill! Yes, the lights are the only heat source. You'd be surprised how much the heat builds up over time in those Styrofoam boxes even though the florescent bulbs don't give off a lot of heat. I guess I need to buy a min/max thermometer, like everyone's mentioning, to see how cold it gets inside. I have no idea right now. dln949, where do you get a thermostat that turns on at 35 and turns off at 55?

  • nucci60
    15 years ago

    artictropical, Is the whole frane covered in plywood and then styrofoam? I am mostly interested in the "roof". Can it take a heavy snow load? Once again, let me state that you are amazing in what you accomplish.

  • dln949
    15 years ago

    arctictropical: You can find the thermostatic device I use here: http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators-TC-3-Thermo-Cube/dp/B0006U2HD2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1225337077&sr=8-1 I was a little concerned about this product at first - you'll see that two people gave it a poor review - but I tested mine, mine work exactly as advertised.

    nucci60: You addressed your question to arctictropical, I don't mean to answer for him. I'll just throw in that I had the same concern you are expressing, but once I put the box together, it is surprising how strong a slab of thick stryrofoam is. I have no realistic worries about the weight of snow breaking the styrofoam.

  • arctictropical
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    dln949, thanks for the web site information. I've already ordered two of the thermostats. nucci60, I sent you an e-mail with details. If you did not get it, please let me know.

    Kevin

  • billn119
    15 years ago

    Kevin,,,I just ordered mine ,,it was 49.00 it controls heat only. It gets to the desired temp then turns off ,,when it cools it turns on again,,,,If you want to set high and low temps,,you have to buy 1 for heat and 1 for cooling,,Since you bought them already I wont send info,,,,By the way ,,,I have seen palms in zone 8 not look as good as yours,,,Whatever your doing ,,,you dont need any advise,,,,,,,Bill

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    Hello arctictropical. Thank you for your idea you dont know how many palms you are saving this year for me.

    I was making one box over my sabal palmetto it is its second winter in the ground.

    I came up with a way to ancor the whole box thats simple I wanted to get your advice to see if you think its enough. Here is some pics. I use wooden stakes in each corner of the box. I pound them about a foot and a half in the ground and screw them to the 2 x 2's in each corner.

    {{gwi:1171144}}

    {{gwi:1171145}}

    {{gwi:1171146}}

  • edbtz
    15 years ago

    I constructed my box this summer and am surprised to see that I used the same styrofoam material as Artictropical. I put three inches of styrofoam all around and put lots of straw inside to keep it warm. I also placed a window on the top for some light. Then I threw a greenhouse (the kind you can quickly put up, avalable at all the big box stores)over the whole thing for some more protection (should heat the aire between the greenhouse and box when sunny). While I have heat inside if I need, the way it is designed, I am not sure if i will need to turn it on much. Mike, I did the same things with the spikes to keep my box in the ground. Mine were about 11 inches. What I did was extend the length of 4 of my posts and then make them pointy. I will hopefully post some pictures soon.

  • edbtz
    15 years ago

    As promised here are some pics of my protection method I took this afternoon.

    The first is a picture of the box, without the top on it, in the greenhouse. The box is approx 4 feet by 6 feet.

    [IMG]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d90/edbtz5/P1020724.jpg[/IMG]

    Another view:

    [IMG]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d90/edbtz5/P1020727.jpg[/IMG]

    This is a pic of inside the enclosure. I have a trachy, sabal minor, and needle, which you cannot see because of all the hay. You can also see the space heater and thermostat, which I have set to 32 degrees.

    [IMG]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d90/edbtz5/P1020725.jpg[/IMG]

    Lastly, here is a picture of the top piece which I have not put up yet because of the nice weather we have been having.

    [IMG]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d90/edbtz5/P1020728.jpg[/IMG]

    The whole enclosure is 5 pieces that is held together with screws so that it can easily be assembled and taken down every year.

    I am also trying a trachy against a SW facing wall with very minimal protection conisisting of burlap, hay and a styrofoam box. I will not provide any heat as an experiment to see what level of protection I could get away with in the future.

    [IMG]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d90/edbtz5/P1020730.jpg[/IMG]

  • edbtz
    15 years ago

    Let's try this again.

    The first is a picture of the box, without the top on it, in the greenhouse. The box is approx 4 feet by 6 feet.

    Another view:

    This is a pic of inside the enclosure. I have a trachy, sabal minor, and needle, which you cannot see because of all the hay. You can also see the space heater and thermostat, which I have set to 32 degrees.

    Lastly, here is a picture of the top piece which I have not put up yet because of the nice weather we have been having.

    The whole enclosure is 5 pieces that is held together with screws so that it can easily be assembled and taken down every year.

    I am also trying a trachy against a SW facing wall with very minimal protection conisisting of burlap, hay and a styrofoam box. I will not provide any heat as an experiment to see what level of protection I could get away with in the future.

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    Everything looks good I think that space heater is a bad idea next to straw!! I dont want your palm to catch on fire at night.

  • edbtz
    15 years ago

    Any recommendations for a heat source, or would you take out the straw and keep the space heater?

  • arctictropical
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    My original boxes had a plexiglass double paned window in the top, but I took them out and put a solid panel in the top of the box in order to conserve heat and prevent moisture from seeping through. They really don't need any light during winter since they are more or less in a dormant state. They do get light from the florescent light bulbs. In any case, each Spring when I take the boxes off, they look just as good as when the boxes went on in the Fall. And they don't get sunburned either. I don't put anything inside the boxes for additional insulation because they don't need it. I try to keep it simple, and it has always worked.

    Kevin

  • jimhardy
    15 years ago

    edbtz,I think 4-5"of straw would be plenty and why not close off the window and just use a low watt grow bulb?it would ,use less energy and provide plenty of warmth.I don't know how much direct sun you get with that set up but by spring I would imagine there would be a good chance of baking your palms with that much insulation,I set up a g/h like yours last winter, without the box inside and with one layer of pvc"plastic" the temp inside on a sunny day would rise 40F, I added another layer of plastic over it and it was 80F over outside temp!during an arctic outbreak when high was 10F outside it was 90F inside,I would suggest you get a min/max remote thermometer so you can watch those temps,Walmart has them for $10.00

  • jimhardy
    15 years ago

    edbtz,I am also trying a couple palms with minimal protection,I would add more mulch to your palm in the s.w. corner,keep it dry,and pile a few feet of leaves over it during arctic outbreaks,keep me posted on how yours does,I am trying two the same way,will post some pics later,take care

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    Today I finished 2 palms 4 more to go!! I hope I can get them done this week. I finlly got a rythem going making the boxes. Again thanx for sharing arctictropical!!

    The dats wrong I took these today

    {{gwi:1171155}}

    {{gwi:1171156}}

    {{gwi:1171157}}

    {{gwi:1171159}}

  • jimhardy
    15 years ago

    Very cool Mike!nice to see some pics of the yard,are those fortunei?very nice.I think arctic is going to have us all building styrofoam structures before long-LOL!definitely looks like the cheapest(energy wise) and safest way to protect!not to need to use a 1500wt heater is very appealing!Mike looks like one of the basjoos survived being pulled up and repotted the smaller one did not,(it had no roots anyway)I will send it off to you when it gets a few more mature leaves,right now it just has the tiny leaves they grow when still attached to momma.

  • arctictropical
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Mike, nice looking palms! How have you protected them in the past?

    Kevin

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    jimhardy yes they are fortunei and in the middle is a butia. The big one covered is a sabal palmetto. It is its second winter in the ground.

    Kevin I used to just put a plastic cold frame over all of the palms at once. For heat I would put 2 or 3 250watt halogen lights shinning on the palms trunk at the base. thats all. Last year they got damaged do to plastic coming away from the cold frame.

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    I put a sensor in the box with the palmetto yesterday. It was 30F degrees this morning and it was and still is a steady 62F degrees in the box!

  • wxman81
    15 years ago

    Mike,

    What heat sources are you using in the box that you have a 32F rise? Also, how did you anchor the foam to the 2x2's? And did you use caulk? I'm using the clear plastic method this year, but next year I might build one of these foam ones...

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    wxman I use a slightly different disign then arctictropical. I didnt use caulk because the plstic I put over the whole thing when it ws done is air tight. the foam I have 2 1/2 screws in the side holdin the foam in place. The foam is in VERY VERY tight to begin with.

    I have 2 of those mini halogen worklights at the sabal palmetto and one florecent spiral light up top by the leaves.

  • arctictropical
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    For future boxes, does anyone know of a cheap source for plastic material to use for creating a framework for the boxes? That way, we would not need to worry about eventual rotting of the wood frames. I've improved my boxes throughout the 15 years I have used them, but there's always ways to improve them further. It would be nice to have boxes that will last decades.

    Kevin

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    I have to check at lowes but I think I remeber seeing some square plastic tube about 1 or 2 inch for plastic fencing.

    Ill check in few days if I see any Ill post a pic

  • jimhardy
    15 years ago

    There are a few different products like hardyboard and correct deck(also azek trim board) that are made of recycled plastic and treated wood pulp,they are used for siding and also for decks the deck material,it never needs to be painted or stained and would basically last "forever",(they are waterproof)any hardware store that sells wood and drywall should have it,these materials are a little more than wood and you need to use screws instead of nails,but you probably use screws anyway.

  • arctictropical
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thanks Jim & Mike! I'll check out these suggestions.

    Kevin

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    No, thank you!

  • topher2006
    15 years ago

    Hey mike what's up ? Getting ready for winter too i see.

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    Hows everything been with you and you nice collection of palms topher2006? Yes I had to cover the sensitive stuff first I will be covering the rest this week

  • NoVaPlantGuy_Z7b_8a
    15 years ago

    Mike, Arctictropical... Any update/ pics on how your palms are doing? Would love to see!

  • mike-jaramillo
    15 years ago

    They are nice and toasty my thermometer says its 40 outside and 70 f in the boxes. Ill post a pic tomorrow if I remeber.

  • arctictropical
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Hi guys! The palms are doing fine. The lowest temperature we have had thus far is -4 F., so I'm not complaining. Unfortunately I don't have a thermostat inside the boxes. Here's a couple of pictures I took a couple of days ago:

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