Wrapped up for whatever weather was to come over the winter and, as it happened, it was not until early spring that brought the cold, freezing temperatures. Storm Emma, freezing rain, minus daytime temperatures, the 'Beast from the East' and heavy snowfall all seen and felt in March, (For the wrapping of the tree ferns see blog entry for the 28th November 2017 'Protective Hessian Collars').
|New Frond Unfurling|
At the end of April, with the weather now warmer, the decision was made to unwrap the tree ferns. The protective hessian was removed and the old fronds were cut off exposing the young fronds hiding in the crown, the protection has worked and the tree ferns are alive.
|Young Frond In The Crown|
|A Heathy Crown|
|New Drip Feed Irrigation System Kit|
With all the ferns unwrapped last month the key for caring for them is to keep them watered so a new drip feed irrigation system has been set up today to provide water directly to the crown where it is needed the most. A sufficient length of 4 Bar MDPE pipe was cut to reach all the tree ferns in each group and the water source, a tap connector placed on one end and a stop bung on the other. Cutting the pipe at the location of each tree fern in the group, a barbed reducing tee was placed in the space reconnecting the pipe. (Why the photograph of the jug of hot water? Placing each cut end into the water softens the rigid pipe and makes it easier to insert the hard plastic barbed reducing tee into the pipe).
|Barbed Reducing Tee|
|Jug Of Hot Water|
|Connecting 5mm PVC Spaghetti Tube to MDPE Pipe|
Lengths of 5mm PVC spaghetti tube were then cut sufficient to reach the top of the tree fern crown from the MDPE pipe below. One end of the tube is then fixed to the barbed reducing tee, secured to the tree fern with florist wire and the other end at the top of the crown fixed to a loop of 5mm micro bore pipe using a 5mm barbed tee completing the circuit. With the tap turned on the water drips out of the micro bore pipe down into the crown.
|5mm Barbed Tee|
|Looped 5mm Micro Bore Pipe|
|Watering The Crown|
|Spaghetti Tube Fasten With Florist Wire|
This new irrigation system has been set up on both groups of tree ferns and tested, a timer will be connected to the tap so regular watering can be given throughout the summer. This system is more efficient than using a hose or a sprinkler system, less water wastage delivering water to where it is need the most.
|New Watering System|