Trials with Freeze Pruf
"MY TRIALS WITH FREEZE PRUF"
After reading about this product during the summer of 2009, I decided to take the bait and see if this product could be a possible tool in the arsenal of zone denial culture. I went to the Liquid fence website and ordered one quart of concentrate and waited for the inevitable Florida freezing weather.
"PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR SUCH A TRIAL"
I won't go into the morbid details of the new year's freeze of 2010. The event was nearly two weeks long with Temeratures reaching as low as 29f in the location I used for this trial. The freeze event was unprecidented to be sure.
"PALMS USED FOR THE TRIAL"
I chose three fairly disparate species of palm to work with. The first species was Syagrus x campos portana. I figured these would be the hardiest of the group. I then chose Archontophoenix cunninghamiana as the intermediate cold sensitive palm. The last species chosen was Ptychosperma elegans, as it seemed the most cold sensitive of my seedling collection with enough foliage to be damaged.
"THE TRIAL SET UP"
On the eve of the epic cold spell I applied the product in accordance with the label. I followed their instructions to the letter. The product is a polyethylene glycol and glycerine cocktail (goes well with dry vermouth*)(*Lame attempt at humor, do not drink Freeze Pruf!). I am guessing that the function of these active ingredients is to prevent the water in the plant cells from freezing and thus expanding and shattering the cell walls. As the photos show I used two groups the treated group and the control group.
"THE RESULTS OF THE TRIAL"
This was a very informal test to see what this product can or cannot do for us palmfreaks. I am not going to draw too many conclusions from this informal test. I do have a couple of concerns with the results on certain species of palm. As the photos show the P. elegans reacted very poorly during the test. Was it the Freeze Pruf? I'll let the reader decide. Note the spots on the H. beguinii. Was this phytotoxicity? I included two pictures of the H. costata to illustrate the residue left on the plant. The H. costata suffered greatly from the cold, despite the fact it was in a heated small green house that likely never got any colder than 35f. Hydriastele costata is tropical in its requirements, so I did not entertain any delusions of it coming out unscathed. I did hope; however that, the Freeze Pruf might show some effect in preventing some damage. One of Freeze Pruf's claims is to add up to 9.4f degrees of protection to your plants. The H. costata should not be harmed at 45f (ambient 35f+9.4f protection=44.4F). The H. costata was not spared the effects from the cold. I did treat all of my cold sensitive palm seedlings in ground in my yard and a lot of them faired well and showed little or no signs of chemical reaction to the Freeze Pruf. If I had to draw a conclusion, I would say that the Freeze Pruf should be used with caution on tender palm leaves. I am not, as of yet convinced that I got up to 9f degrees of protection. I will continue to try the product through the end of this '09\'10 winter and perhaps into next winter as well. If I notice any other noteworhty results I will post them here. Also, please feel free to post pictures of your Freeze Pruf experience on the page. -Justin the Palmnerd. 01\18\10