Taxus Baccata - Winter care

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Taxus Baccata - Winter care

Post  leatherback on Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:59 am

Hi All,

Almost 2 years ago I picked up a taxus from a gardening centre for some 25 euro (Say 30 USD). Big tree. Straight as a spear. But the nebari is about 8 inches across. Total plant stood 2.5m (8+ inches) tall, and maybe half this width.

The tree was in bad healt. Checking the roots showed why: lots of grubs in the soil munching on the roots. So I took a bold step, clipped the rootbal, removing maybe 40%, and planted it in a coarser medium. For transport most of the older branches were removed. This was in mid-spring. Plant is happy in summer, growing a little, not loosing any further needles or branches. However, come this spring and no explosion of growth. Just full standstill. And indeed, as I thought: Agains the roots were not happy. So I transplanted in the most open soilmixture I could find, after trimming away all dead and rotting roots (Closer to the trunk loads of fine young white roots were found).

How should I now keep this trouble maker through winter? I do have a garage, but with little light. I can create a little cover for the soil, reducing the amount of rainwater getting into the container. Should I in periods of heavy frost place the tree in the garage? (Something I couldn't do last winter, because of sheer size & weight of the combo)

Some images:
The start:


September last year. Note the pre-cutting carving I did in the bark, to let that section die-off. This was done together with all the other major work on the branches the first day I had the tree.


The tree this june, undergoing a second round of root-trimming..


The plant in the new container & dry soil mixture (backed clay with 10% cocopeat)

leatherback
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Re: Taxus Baccata - Winter care

Post  jalbright on Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:47 am

I had one just like it last year, about the same size, and it wouldn't fit in my winter storage box. In the US, at home centers or hardware stores you can buy electric heaters for water pipes. I bought the smallest one (6ft long, 40 watts) and it includes a built in thermostat set for 35degF. I built a shallow box underneath the grow box and put the heater with thermostat inside there (all inside a detached garage away from winds and rain). The foliage got plenty cold (0F) and the top of the soil froze but the roots stayed healthy. The heaters are waterproof so occasional watering is not a problem (I recommend turning it off to be safe).

Jay

jalbright
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Re: Taxus Baccata - Winter care

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:49 am

In a hard winter they can be lost due to the fleshy roots freezing and bursting, so some protection is definitely advisable. I lost my best one three years ago :-(

_________________
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

Kev Bailey
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Re: Taxus Baccata - Winter care

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