Seasonal Gardening: Frost Prevention Foam, Stretchy Tree Paint and Cooled Compost Piles

The Seasons of the Garden column shares seasonal gardening news briefs on frost prevention foam, stretchy tree paint and cooled compost piles.

| November/December 1987

The Seasons of the Garden column shares seasonal gardening information and tips with MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers. 

Seasonal Gardening Research Briefs

Foam away frost? According to East German experiments, an eight-inch layer of nontoxic, biodegradable foam protects strawberry, tomato, bean and potato plants from several hours of subfreezing temperatures (even down into the teens). The product is not yet commercially available.

Stretchy tree paint.Tree-Max, a paint specially formulated to protect the trunks and lower branches of fruit trees from sun scald, contains an elastic material that allows it to stretch and grow with the tree. The permeable paint is available from Associated Technical Consultants, Toledo, OH.

Freeze herb pests. Dr. A.D. Tucker of the Delaware State College Herbarium says that freezing harvested herbs for 48 hours at 0°F should kill all insect pests and egg clusters. Dried-on-the-vine raisins are now feasible, at least in fairly arid regions. For details, write to H.E. Studer (Dept. of Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA) for a copy of his paper, "Raisin Production by Natural On the-Vine Drying."

Death to multiflora rose. If you've ever struggled against that invasive briar, multiflora rose, you'll be glad to hear about rose rosette. This disease causes deformed stems, altered leaflet development and bright red spring shoots one year—and kills the entire plant the next!

Cool compost, please. According to research at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, soil mixes containing materials composted at moderate temperatures can help suppress damping off of seedlings. However, compost cooked at high temperatures (above 140 degrees Fahrenheit) can actually pro mote such fungus diseases. Apparently, the beneficial microorganisms that attack damping off are killed by the higher temperatures.

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