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HYB: frost tolerance experiments

This experiment was for those of you who breed irises in climates closer to the coasts where you don't normally experience the full range of temperature swings we have here in the middle of the country (and, of course, worse here in the vale).

Ok, so this wasn't exactly intentional ;-)...

I made the mistake of believing the weather forecaster when they said temperatures wouldn't get below freezing and left all the seedlings outdoors one night last week when they were waay off. These are the babies that have been on the sun porch, above freezing all their wee little lives.

It dropped to 27oF overnight. As soon as I got up (around daybreak), I brought them all indoors (~68oF) to minimize the length of time at that temperature. They were frozen stiff.

They were cold enough long enough that some, but not all, seedlings had some freeze damage. Damage on those that were damaged at all ranged from dead leaves to just sort of frustrated ;-)

So if you grow seedlings where it does get that cold, you could do some selection for survival in this kind of erratic climate by growing them indoors, or in an unheated greenhouse, keeping them above freezing, preferably in the 70s during the day, then when they are a few inches tall, stick them in the freezer (or outdoors if it's cold enough) for a few hours.

Below 25 will kill most green foliage, so that's too cold to do any useful screening. Unfortunately, my experiment didn't keep track of how long it was below freezing.

I tried to take photos but it doesn't show very well (lack of skill of operator and camera limitations). Maybe when they've grown some more I can get a better photo. None of them look like the mess we had last year.

Anybody know where I can get a fairly inexpensive weather recorder? Something that will measure and record max min temperature for a week or month.

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
East Tennessee Iris Society <http://www.DiscoverET.org/etis>
Region 7, Kentucky-Tennessee <http://www.aisregion7.org>
American Iris Society web site <http://www.irises.org>
talk archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/>
photos archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-photos/>
online R&I <http://www.irisregister.com>

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