Winter care - Quebec (Canada) - for my small bonsai

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Winter care - Quebec (Canada) - for my small bonsai

Post  EpicusMaximus on Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:22 pm

Hi,

I'm new to these forums and new to Bonsai. Currently, I only own one bonsai which I bought from a Bonsai store. It's a small juniper, probably 4 inches tall, in a small bonsai pot.. I think it is a japanese juniper (nana). It's summertime, it's been living outside, doing well, and my plan is to keep it outside this winter. I also have 3 juniper plants in 2 gallon pots from nurseries that are rated zone 3.

I live in Quebec (zone 3), so it gets pretty cold here during the winter (sometimes we can have a whole week at -30 degrees farenheit (-35 to -40 celcius)).

That being said, I have been looking for tips online and have found various sources of information ranging from bringing the tree indoors for the winter, to storing it in a shed or garage, to leaving it outside. The nurseries where I bought the junipers in 2 gallon pots, and other local nurseries, have told me my junipers can stay outside in their pots. No need to be buried. I will bury the pots anyway just to be safe. These types of junipers are quite common around my area and I see them everywhere in people's gardens.

However, for my small bonsai tree, I'm not 100% sure what to do since the roots are so small and shallow. I'm thinking of taking a risk and burying the pot in my garden, and covering the base of the tree with mulch. I'd leave it out of direct sunlight and wind, and cover it with snow. I would say the information most relevant to my situation was found in this forum: http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?5627-Keeping-juniper-in-a-pot-through-the-cold-Canadian-winter

I simply wanted insight from others in a similar situation. What should I do?

Thanks!

EpicusMaximus
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Re: Winter care - Quebec (Canada) - for my small bonsai

Post  Jim McIntyre on Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:10 am

I would take it out if its pot in October and plant it in the garden. Water it well if you have no snow and mulch it with straw before the snow comes. Once the snow comes make sure to fully cover it with snow. If you live in an area with a lot of mice and voles etc, you can surround the plant with chicken wire . This is the easiest method versus storing it in an unheated garage.

Jim McIntyre
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Re: Winter care - Quebec (Canada) - for my small bonsai

Post  EpicusMaximus on Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:30 pm

Thanks for the reply.

Can I achieve similar results to bonsai using larger pots for my trees? I'm still interested in shaping the trees and pruning them etc, but I would rather stick to zone 2 and 3 trees with deeper roots that I don't have to worry about in the winter...

Maybe the activity I am thinking of is simply growing trees in pots and not bonsai? Neutral

EpicusMaximus
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Check with clubs in Quebec

Post  elroy on Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:14 pm

If you talk to some local people, you might find you don't have to worry so much

Montreal http://www.bonsaimontreal.com/

Quebec City http://www.bonsaiquebec.com/

http://www.bonsaiduquebec.com/

Elroy

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Re: Winter care - Quebec (Canada) - for my small bonsai

Post  Jim McIntyre on Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:40 pm

You could try up sizing to a larger pot,but why bother if you have a suitable garden to put them in?Remember a tree in a bonsai pot is rated around 2 zones colder than the same species planted in a garden.So your zone 3 is now a zone 1.If you are keeping your trees in bonsai pots and planting them in the garden,put pantyhose around the pots and top of the soil, it makes for an easier clean up in spring.

Jim McIntyre
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Re: Winter care - Quebec (Canada) - for my small bonsai

Post  robert nocher on Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:44 am

Hi Epicus

With those winter temperatures you really need to give trees in pots some protection if you want to be sure of their survival. Here in Scotland we get winter temperature down to -20 degrees C. I put all my small trees .indoors if there's any possibility of the temperature dropping below 0 C.

Regards

Robert

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Re: Winter care - Quebec (Canada) - for my small bonsai

Post  rps on Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:41 am

speaking from zone 3 experience, you'll want to either get those 2 gallon junipers in the ground or mulch them well above the current soil level. I use a corner of the garden sheltered (and shaded) on two sides by fence, then complete the box "bed" with plywood on two sides. I bury my tamarack, thuja, mugos and nursery juniper mid-pot, or deeper, then mulch up to the top of my winter bed.
Snow cover is the real key, however. If you can rely on there being enough to keep your charges WELL covered, you can probably get away without the infra-structure I describe. I do know we were challenged by less snow than usual last year & I lost a couple of larch. I plain & simple could not keep them covered.

The Japanese tree is a bit more of a risk. I lost the upper half of a Shimpaku a few years back, despite my best efforts and appeals to the fates. Other local enthusiasts have had complete and happy success over-wintering as above --- again, the snow is key.
One club member, moves his Shimpaku to his (attached, unheated) garage once daytime temperatures are around -5C. After about 10 weeks dormancy, he brings it indoors & puts it under lights for a false spring. I lack the garage to even be tempted by such a high wire act, but it seems to work.

Good luck.

rps
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Re: Winter care - Quebec (Canada) - for my small bonsai

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