[NAFEX] Winter Protection of Plants

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Thu Jun 19 12:25:42 EDT 2008

This is a snippet from a letter on another list.  It was unusual enough 
to be worth re-posting here.
-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at 
http://www.bunchgrapes.com  Winner of the Garden Writers Association 
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
For even more grape lessons, go to  http://www.grapeschool.com
For all other things grape,   http://www.vitisearch.com
A video about The Grape Grower : 

Here is something that might be interesting in terms of potential 
winter ground cover of vines.  A number of years ago, over a few 
winters I had to run a water line over the ground, I would cover up the 
water line with dry Bracken ferns that I collected in the fall.  The 
water lines never froze even during the few days of -40 ish during the 
winter.  One of the neat things about the Bracken fern is that they are 
easy to stack as they various lengths become interlocked quite easily. 
 In my area of north central Ontario these ferns grow by the zillions, 
and it is easy enough to collect a large amount.  Pull out / break off 
with leather gloves on, as the dry fern stocks tend to be fairly 
brittle and will sometimes cut into your hands.  As such I would 
contend that a blanket of Bracken ferns could be a good alternative to 
straw.  I have filled burlap enclosures with the ferns to protect a 
couple of small apple trees I had.  The ferns stay bone dry and I 
believe that they offer good insulation value.
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