Ask a Question forum: Temperature sensitive plants

Views: 173, Replies: 2 » Jump to the end

RichL
May 15, 2017 4:57 AM CST
I'm wondering about temperature sensitive plants. For instance, rhubarb is a northern plant; but I've been successful in growing it in Arkansas. So here's the question: Is it air temperature or soil temperature that is critical? If it's soil temp, a thick layer of mulch should ameliorate the problem.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
May 15, 2017 8:53 AM CST
This is an interesting question, Rich. As I understand it, for plants that need a certain amount of cold dormancy like rhubarb, it's not so much about either air temperature OR soil temperature but the combination of the two, giving the plant the necessary number of "chilling" hours each winter. Well, I guess the cold air is what cools off the soil, but the soil needs to stay cold for some (I'm not sure how many) hundreds of hours per winter. So a place that is shaded in winter would also help with this as then the sun wouldn't warm up the soil.

So, for growing rhubarb in a (more or less) southern state like Arkansas you are at least getting enough cold weather to chill the plant for long enough that it goes dormant, and re-generates itself each winter to comes back healthy in the spring. If you get a couple of warm winters, you might see the plant declining gradually, though.

You would definitely NOT want to mulch your rhubarb in the winter as that would tend to keep the plant warmer when it needs the cold to stay dormant for it's required sleep. In summer, I'd definitely be mulching it, though, to insulate the root system, keep it moist and generally keep the soil cooler.

For other plants such as stone fruit trees, I think it's prolonged low air temperatures more than soil that they need to keep them from breaking dormancy. But, obviously the one begets the other to a certain extent anyway.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
purpleinopp
May 19, 2017 5:16 PM CST
At some point, there's no zone-cheating that one can do for a plant, it's either just too cold or not cold enough, over winter. But where the leap is not too great, a mulch is a great way to attempt/augment a microclimate spot. It would moderate the soil temp, and prevent the ground from getting as warm as bare ground on unusually warm winter days, and keep the ground warmer during a cold snap, as well as moderating moisture levels, once it has been in place long enough to have had an effect on the soil below. Whether or not it actually works in a particular spot depends on more variables than just the mulch, but absolutely worth a try, possibly in conjunction with other measures, but not a plant I know to suggest anything specific.

...and I'm assuming the mulch would be an organic one. If not, look for info from someone with experience with a non-organic mulch.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Penstemon virens"