Why your Nearing frame must face true North and not magnetic North (and how to do it)

The secret to situating a Nearing frame is getting it oriented correctly. Simply taking a compass and aligning the opening toward North with a compass is not enough.

Here’s why direct sunlight should not enter the Nearing frame:

The key to a Nearing frame is ensuring no direct sunlight enters and lands on the cuttings. Direct sunlight passing through the plexiglass or glass cover is like sunlight entering a greenhouse; the sunlight quickly raises the temperature and if it lands on the leaves of a cutting, could burn them. This raising of temperature will quickly cause the cuttings in a Nearing frame to overheat.

High temperatures within the frame will also cause the moisture in the rooting media to evaporate quicker than normal. This moisture typically collects on the plexiglass or glass cover and keep the humidity within the Nearing frame high. Dry rooting media does not provide the required moisture to the stems which will also cause them to fail.

High humidity is one of the key elements to a Nearing frame but if the temperature and humidity get too high, this will have adverse affects on the cuttings. Raising the temperature in the Nearing frame causes the cuttings to overheat. This overheating puts stress on the cuttings which will ultimately cause them to fail.

How to correctly align a Nearing frame:

Aligning a Nearing frame is not difficult but does require a step beyond just using a compass to find North. Why? because a compass will only give you magnetic North, not true North. Magnetic North is affected by geographical location. Determining true North (also called magnetic declination) is a fairly simple job once you know how to do it.

First, visit magnetic-declination.com and enter your city and state. The supplied map will have a marker on it showing your location. Click on this marker to open a balloon with the information you need. This is what I found when I entered mine:

We are interested in the Magnetic declination and whether it is east or West. In my case it is 15 degrees West.

Take the compass and align the North arrow (usually colored red)  to North, then slowly turn so it is pointed to your magnetic declination. Remember whether you are East or West, this means your needle will be to the right or left of the N (North).  Here is a picture showing true North and one showing how I had to adjust my Nearing frame on the West (left) side of magnetic north. My compass actually has marks that show East and West declination on it so that made it a bit easier to determine which direction to rotate it.

Ok, ok, I know what you are thinking…my true North is supposed to be 15 degrees and not the 20 shown in the pictures. There are two reasons my nearing frame is set to 20 degrees in the pictures.

  • I didn’t have the compass snug against the frame when I took the picture. This affected the reading by a degree or two.
  • I had to fine tune the Nearing frame after the initial alignment to my magnetic declination. This changed my actual true North (magnetic declination) by a degree or two also. Once the frame was set up I paid attention for a few days to see if the sun entered the opening . I noticed that a sliver of direct sun about 3 inches wide entered the opening and I adjusted the frame so this did not happen.

Getting your nearing frame aligned properly is key to your success rooting cuttings in it. With just a quick visit to the link I provided and a compass, you too can get yours aligned properly.


Why your Nearing frame must face true North and not magnetic North (and how to do it) — 3 Comments

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