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Author Topic: Just one hot day did this  (Read 424 times)
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splinter1804
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« on: January 20, 2016, 06:14:45 »

Hi everyone.

Toward the end of November 2015 I had an open garden day for the members of our local Bromeliad Society; my garden was finally looking reasonable and the temperatures were between 17 – 20 degrees C. with nice mild sunny days, ideal for a garden visit.

Two days before the visit the weather forecaster said there was an unexpected extra hot day on the way so just to be on the safe side I rigged up some temporary shade cloth over the front garden which is otherwise unprotected.

The day before the visit it happened, the temperature jumped from below 20 degrees C. to 39-41 degrees C. accompanied by a hot dry westerly wind just as previously forecast, and it wasn't until about midnight that a cold southerly change came through and the temperature finally dropped back to the low twenties.

I was up early the next day to survey the damage and remove the shade cloth and to my surprise everything in the garden looked fine with no visible damage. The Bromeliad Society members came and spent an enjoyable 3-4 hours viewing my plants of which I was very proud and a good morning was had by all.

Unfortunately a few days later, a bit of burn damage started to appear on a few of the Neoregelias which was surprising, as they had been protected by the temporary shade cloth covering. A week later it was a much different story with lots of plants showing severe burning even including some Ae. blanchetianas, which really did surprise me as I know they grow in the open in North Queensland and tolerate the northern heat OK and it puzzled me why they had burnt here in Shellharbour.

Anyway after a lot of thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not so much the heat that does the damage but the sudden severe change in temperature and accompanying hot westerly wind which sucks the humidity out of the air, and because it’s so sudden, the plants don’t have time to adapt to the change.

It’s also interesting to see what some plants do when they are severely stressed in these situations, and the “trigger mechanism” that’s activated to reproduce themselves. e.g. I’ve had a Vriesea in that garden that rarely flowers but after that hot day it has produced six or seven flower spikes and some of the larger growing Aechmeas which I had grown from seed were also putting up flower spikes as well; again probably in an attempt to reproduce themselves just in case they died.

Mother Nature can sometimes be very cruel and cause a lot of damage, but then she also has a wonderful way of repairing it, and hopefully the burnt plants will eventually produce a pup or two to restart the growing cycle all over again.

What did puzzle me somewhat is that there is a soft leaved small border plant along the front of the garden which you can see in pictures 3, 4 and 5, and not a single leaf of that was burnt and it wasn't even beneath the protection of the shade cloth. As a well known Professor Julius Sumner Miller often asked on his TV show many years ago...........Why is it so?

I’ll finish with a few pictures, and if you look past the weeds that I haven't got around to pulling out yet, you can see the heartbreak she cause me with the burnt Neoregelias.

This it the multi spiked Vriesea which previously rarely ever flowered
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Even the Ae. blanchetianas took a roasting
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But not quite as much as this (what was once) a beautiful clumop of burgundy coloured Neoregelia.
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The puzzle is though, why didn't the leaves on the small green border plant get burned as well?
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All the best, Nev.
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jaga
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 09:33:50 »

Hi Nev. Is this sort of weather your norm ? or are we looking at global warming. I do know that Melbourne & Perth have had 40+ degrees of recent times. Certainly our neoregelia in Malaysia face 35 + everyday, we took them from New Zealand so they went from 20 one day to 35 the next. I expected some damage but they all did OK. Many people in Asia have also imported from NZ with little damage. I'm also surprised about the time delay, normally sun burn is almost instant along with hail or frost. So obviously there saddly is extensive damage, I'm wondering if its due to a wet winter followed by a day of microwaving! causing servere shock? Also is it all your gardens or just the front garden you covered?. That green edge plant looks as though its nuclear proof so I'm not surprised.

Interesting topic Nev!, shows its not easy to grow broms properly. As you point out broms have defence mechanism's to save them selves by flowering and having a pup, a marvel of nature.

Cheers Jaga
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chefofthebush
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 17:47:58 »

The Horror!

I feel your pain. It is very sad to see a well growing plant become tortured and twisted into something that rips the heart apart. I have a few takamore grande growing in almost full shade on the southern side of my house, and jet even there the UV gets them and they burn.

I recall that in the 70's I was starting with some orchids and for my Cattleyas I had to construct a fiberglass house to get them to bloom. Now they grow  in the open and flower every year. Global warming is no myth. Lets hope that humanity gains some sense of urgency in addressing this problem.

Conrad
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splinter1804
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 20:56:55 »

Hi everyone.

Jaga and Conrad - There's no doubt about it the temperature here in the Illawarra is definitely rising, but days like I mentioned above are fortunately still rare and are what I call "out of the blue days" i.e. days where the temperature is unexpectedly much higher than usual and returns back to within the normal range the following day.

I can only remember probably half a dozen such days in the past twenty years with 2013 probably the worst where my thermometer which had the capacity to measure to to 50 degrees C. “self-destructed” when I put it outside in my shade house at 1.00pm.

There may have been other very hot days, but these are the ones that stick out in my memory as I was growing orchids or bromeliads during that period and paid more attention to temperatures even though I didn’t record them.

You say Jaga that your Neoregelias in Malaysia face 35 + temperatures every day and that’s the point I’m making, if they faced these temperatures every day I'm sure the plants would adapt to them but to have a 20 degree temperature variation over a 24 hour period is what does the damage I think.

Once again, as I found in the previous heat wave days, the Vrieseas in the same garden surprisingly suffered only an occasional bit of leaf tip burning on a few leaves and obviously can handle high temperatures much better than the Neo’s.

To answer the other question, yes it was only the one particular garden in the front yard that was damaged, the plants in the back yard were fine but they are all protected by shade cloth as well as a couple of trees. My query is, why didn’t the shade cloth offer the same protection in the front garden also?

I guess I'll just have to plant a couple of trees in that particular garden or else grow something other then bromeliads in it. I'm not a fan of succulents and cacti, but maybe that's the way to go.

The report below about Illawarra weather probably explains this weather pattern much better than I ever could and is worth a read.

https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/046733e18f4056e34e92f8546eb6c71c.pdf

All the best, Nev.
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jaga
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 22:11:20 »

Nev, my point was that I took neos from 20 here in New Zealand straight to Malaysia where the temp was 35 and they all were fine even with the shock temp difference, the only thing I did for them was keep them wet for 2 weeks at the time. So I still conclude that its not the heat but the very high UV on that day. Your part of Austrailia, ourselves in NZ and Conrad are under the southern UV hole in the sky, northern Austrialia & Asia are protected. I dont get burnt in Malaysia as in 10 minutes I burn here. I still cant understand why the burning took so long to appear?, just maybe the plants were only weakened on that day and if you had left the shade cloth on for a few more days rather than removing it the following days would not have continued to damage them?

Also was the shade cloth in the front yard to close to the plants? I also feel you would need 2 layers of 60% to protect against that day.

Jaga
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splinter1804
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2016, 06:03:19 »

Hi everyone.

Jaga - I'm still trying to work out the cause of the burning but comparing my plants with yours in Malaysia I think is a bit like comparing apples with oranges as  Malaysia is a different climate and isn't bombarded with as much UV as we are.

Another difference with your plants was that they came from 20 degrees and went to a higher 35 degrees, but there they stayed wheras mine went from below 20 degrees up to to 39-41 degrees and back down to 20 degrees all within 24 hours which would account for the extra stress which may have thrown any in-built protective system within the plants all out of whack.

I've never been to Malaysia but I imagine the humidity would be much higher there than here and I don't imagine your plants would have had that hot drying westerly wind to contend with in Malaysia either. I'm pretty sure now and it's that which caused the damage as it just dries up the humidity no matter how much shade cloth protection you have. Remembering back to that other stinking hot day I mentioned where the thermometer "died", there was a hot westerly blowing that day as well.

I don't think leaving the shade cloth on for a few more days would have helped much as the temperature was already back down to the normal 20 degrees that it was previously, and besides I had to remove it for the garden visitors to see the plants anyway.

Although the temporary shade cloth was only 3 feet above the plants and less than ideal, I feel it should have offered more protection than it did as most of it was the same density (75%) as that which is covering the plants in the back yard with some even heavier density.

I did give that garden a really good deep watering in the late afternoon on the day before and thinking back now, maybe it would have been better if I hadn't as the high temperatures combined with the extra water may have created something like a "mini steam bath".

Maybe the answer is to replace the Neo's with a few more Vrieseas as they stood up to the heat much better, I guess it's more trial and error and possibly more burnt plants, but at least they weren't good ones and are easily replaced.

All the best, Nev.
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Kayleen C
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2016, 13:10:23 »

I've never been to Malaysia but I imagine the humidity would be much higher there than here and I don't imagine your plants would have had that hot drying westerly wind to contend with in Malaysia either. I'm pretty sure now and it's that which caused the damage as it just dries up the humidity no matter how much shade cloth protection you have. Remembering back to that other stinking hot day I mentioned where the thermometer "died", there was a hot westerly blowing that day as well.

I think that may be your answer Nev. The hot wind.
I have bleaching on a few of my plants, things that have never been effected by the heat before.

Not a believer in climate change. The world is changing but I think it is just the Earths natural cycle.
I am awfully suspicious of climate change as it seems to be making some people a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$$.
Too bad most of us won't be around to find out who was right or wrong. LOL
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2016, 01:33:21 »

Ok Well, happy to concede to you both, Sunshine & Nev ,

Our house in Malaysia is located in the city of Kuching, Sarawak. There is humidity at certain times of the day along with very hot breeze and although it averages at mid 30's. It often rains hard in the afternoons but we certainly don't have the wind off the desert to contend with. My plants also went as pups from 20-35 degrees so just maybe a pup has a chance to adjust?

So im assuming we can call it 'heat damage phenomena' ?

Where on 28 degrees here today and thats hot enough ! have very high UV and a clear sky.

Cheers Jaga
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