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cheap, rigid, chemical-free exterior panels for fig tree insulating?

cheap, rigid, chemical-free exterior panels for fig tree insulating?

Old 12-20-23, 11:16 PM
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cheap, rigid, chemical-free exterior panels for fig tree insulating?

Wrapping a bunch of fig trees in the north east at the end of each Fall takes a while, The tarps often rip eventually too and the big tarps 'aint cheap.

I'm looking to put 4 permeant pressure treated 2x4s X 10 footers about 2 feet in the ground and 8 feet above ground to make 4 corners, then attach panels to these with wingnuts and bolts, pack it with leaves and grass and put a slanted roof panel on. I keep the trees about 8 feet tall.

I want to avoid chemicals in the garden but 4 treated posts I'm ok with,
I could maybe figure out something using galvanized chain link fence posts but wood would be easier to drill holes to accept the 4 wall panels and roof plus galvanized steel probably also isn't great to have leach into the soil, any non treated cedar or mahogany etc will just rot at the base in no time and aren't cheap so I will avoid that too.

I don't want the panels to be treated wood and I don't want to paint non treated plywood to preserve it which also has tons of glue in osb/plywood.

4 foot wide boards should be fine, I can tie the branches together of an 8 foot wide tree to become only about 3 feet at the base.

I'm looking for inexpensive durable panels that won't leach chemicals into the garden. Something thick enough that it won't break in strong wind. But if I have to screw non treated pine 2x2s on the inside in a criss cross [XX] bracing pattern or something to make it windproof then that's ok.

I'm guessing plastic shower wall panels with 2x2 bracing on the inside is the best bet.
They're no too cheap at about $30 each board 4x8 and 1/8" thick they could still cracks and might be sort of brittle to start with let alone when frozen.

I like this box idea because trees should also be opened to allow to breathe at the start of summer during warm days so it doesn't mold inside and with the tarp this can be a problem esp if it's all pieced together multiple tarps in an envelope affect which doesn't allow water to enter. And then it should be tied back up when it gets cold again when not quite warm enough to fully unwrap.

In the past I've always tied the branches in a bundle, mulched leaves with the mower so they're more compact and insulating value and fil leaf bags about 2 inches thick with mulched leaves and tie a whole bunch of these leaf bags around the bundled branches, mulch the roots heavily, put a garbage pail/bucket over the top branches so they don't poke through the tarp, and then tie tarps around it and put scrap treated 4x4 blocks at the base of the tarp so it doesn't flap and blow upwards or let too much rain in. This can all take a while and the tarps rip.

Most just wrap theirs in burlap but it doesn't have much insulating value compared to free leaves and the leaf part isn't that bad of a process and I have tons of free leaves or can just take peoples' bags from the curb but overall the tarp method is bothering me.

I can try corrugated roofing which might be a nit cheaper and more durable than the shower panels but I'm not sure, plus attaching 2x2 bracing on the inside might be a problem with corrugated panels.

Old 12-21-23, 06:35 AM
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Do you have a short version or what is your question?
cwbuff voted this post useful.
Old 12-22-23, 07:48 PM
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well, I wrapped 3 fig trees today and it doesn't take too too long, it's just the cost of the tarps that seem to eventually always rip that bothers me, but if these tarps are dedicated to only being used for these fig trees then they should be fine for many years.

I realized I shouldn't really mulch the leaves before putting them back in the leaf bags even though they're more insulating that way, it's probably overkill and mulching them reduced them to such a small amount that is hard to stop them from falling to the bottom of the bag when trying to have just a 2" thickness of mulched leaves vs just full sized fluffy leaves at ~4",
Most trees do just fine with only a few wraps of burlap and then the tarp, and I think even empty leaf bags (which I get free from town) doubled up might be good enough plus the tarp - it might be wind burn and ice etc that affects them more than just trying to insulate it so thickly.

It would definitely be nice though to just have 4 panels stored in the shed, quickly assembled and filled with leaves and then put the top on plus the ease of letting it breathe in Spring temporarily with the top open so I might do that next Fall. I'll check facebook/craigslist etc for maybe some cheap shower panels or something or corrugated roofing and then brace it with untreated pine 2x2s. Or maybe used cheap vinyl fence panels.

Another way is: since there's no shortage really of full leaf bags at peoples' curbs, I drive around and fill my truck bed, I can stack them in a fortress circle around the fig trees and that should be good enough even for rain penetration although once fiberglass gets wet it really looses insulating value but it's like cotton candy that gets wet and melts but soaked leaf bags probably not so great but it could work, but then would need a tarp on top to stop the rain entering and it'd likely be too wide for the free harbor freight 5.5 X 7.5 free tarps I never seem to have much good use for and have a bunch of.
Old 12-23-23, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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So do you remove all this mulch each spring? If you use the leaf bag method are the bags in contact with the trunk? Can you stack the bags in such a way you don't even need a roof?
What variety figs do you have? Is there a winter hardy variety that will make it in your climate without so much work? People who have not eaten fresh figs do not know what they are missing.

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