Outside Wintering Location

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Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:22 pm

I am considering wintering my trees in this corner under my deck. I plan on getting a couple of fence walls and walling it off on both sides. I will also use pine bark mulch the trees as well. Will this plan work?

I have a question about walling it off to protect from the wind. Should I get a high/mid/short wall? I was thinking of getting a wall about mid-height but maybe a short wall would work just fine (above the height of the tallest tree)?

Thanks!



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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  JudyB on Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:20 pm

Sounds like a good plan, but a couple things are key. First off, what kind of trees? How much trouble do you have there with pests, like mice and voles? If you have trees that just need a bit of wind and root protection, then with the walls and mulch you'll be fine, just make sure that the sun is not strong on them, as that is the hardest part of keeping trees in dormancy. You don't want or need sun. If you have trees that need more help than mulch, then you may want to consider a heat mat or cable under them, with a good thermostat, that will keep them around freezing, but not above 36-40F. For critters, about all you can do is a hardware cloth bottom sides and top if you have real trouble with them. At least this is what I've found....

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:35 pm

It's an assortment of trees with pines, azalea, jumpers, bald/pond/hinoki Cypress, elms, maples, etc. I've seen a mole but no problems since my trees are elevated on stands. My back yard does have a wooded area so critters may find shelter at the location but I'm not sure since it will be my first wintering.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  JudyB on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:58 pm

Well I can tell you that mice and moles and the like do appreciate a nice cozy mulch bed, with yummy tender tree bark to dine on all winter. rabbit
So if you think you might have issues, since you'll be putting these trees on the ground, (yes?) then I would suggest some hardware cloth at least sides. You won't have problems with the bottom, as your trees are on gravel. You will want to put these on the ground, there is a big difference in protection between the ground and your bench height.
Depending on what kind of pine (JBP are more tender) and type of azalea, you'll probably be ok with this in zone 6. Bald cypress are tougher than people think, I've kept mine outside here in zone 5 for a couple years before we built an overwintering greenhouse. Don't know about pond..., or hinoki.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:47 pm

Yes, they will be on the ground although now I wonder if I can get a large short table and put everyone on that (including the the mulch) so it's not as easily accessible to critters.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  MikeG on Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:37 pm

I remembering reading somewhere that mothballs placed around the pots can help keep critters away. I don't have any first hand experience (No mice up here on the 17th floor) but could be worth a shot. I'd keep the trees on the ground, mulch and then pile snow on them once it comes. I'm the same zone and am forced to winter my trees on my balcony. Dieback from wind is my biggest enemy during winter.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  JudyB on Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:58 pm

Your short table will not give you the same amount of protection that sitting them on the ground will. There is a exponential difference between the ground and above it. (and mice are very good climbers, it really won't matter to them)

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  rockm on Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:46 pm

You don't want the trees on a table. Close contact with the ground is the idea here. The ground will act as a temperature sump of sorts for the mulch piled on the trees. You do want to make sure there is about an inch or so underneath the pots to insure they drain --with gravel underneath them that won't be much of an issue, though.

Rodents are notorious for bonsai damage during winter, especially up your way. Mulch allows them to burrow. You might want to think of wrapping the tops of the pots and trunk of trees with hardware cloth...or setting traps...

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:02 pm

AboveBeyond wrote:I am considering wintering my trees in this corner under my deck. I plan on getting a couple of fence walls and walling it off on both sides. I will also use pine bark mulch the trees as well. Will this plan work?

I have a question about walling it off to protect from the wind. Should I get a high/mid/short wall? I was thinking of getting a wall about mid-height but maybe a short wall would work just fine (above the height of the tallest tree)?

Thanks!

i would only seal of one wall, the side where the wind blows mostly. Such spaces can be wind tunnels, so avoid that. If it is a wind tunnel, then seal it half way high on both sides doesnt do the trick. Seal 1 side, leaving only a small space on top will not pose a problem. The air can get in from the other side, but no strong winds (if that could be achieved). I would only seal the other side when temperatures really drop, to protect the trees that are most sensitive to frost; those trees i would place in the middle or on the sides which are most protected. The hardest ones...you get the picture.

I would not put the trees on pine bark mulch, nor would I bury (or semi-bury) your trees with that. That would be IDEAL for mice, snails, insects, you name it. I would put some wooden pallets on the floor, just put em on that without other protection.
Other solution i would think of, is use the pallets, and make a plastic tunnel above it (bended plastic electricians tubes, and put the plastic over that). That is a sound winter protection, and you won't need to seal of the walls. I have used that kind of protection for my trees, and I used only a corner of the garden, that was in semi-shade, and the wind could blow on it. Nothing happened, and it froze to -15┬░Celsius.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:09 pm

Thanks for the responses guys! But now I'm conflicted as to whether to mulch or not.

I'll probably wall the front side (pic 1) and wall the other side only when the temperature really drops as suggested.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  Dave Murphy on Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:43 pm

I always mulched and never had an issue when the tree was outside...I did have rodent issues with trees in my garage on occassion. I would suggest not mulching until late fall...early December, perhaps, after the rootball has frozen. Place the mulch around the pot and just up to the trunk. Finally, you can place mouse traps and/or cheesecloth bags with mothballs (with napthalene) amongst your trees for rodent control. Napthalene is extremely toxic to pets and children, FYI.

I do think you will need to mulch or provide other protection for your trees...it is too risky otherwise with the likelyhood of sub 0F temps occurring this winter.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  rockm on Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:44 pm

NOT mulching is not really an option. Without it, your trees are at the mercy of the lowest temp, drying out or both. Exposed on the ground or, worse, on a bench, there is no way to buffer the lowest temperatures--minimal root temps vary species to species, but you start to have to worry at about 16 degrees F for many temperate zone trees. Below that, you get die back root death and other nasty stuff...Mulch is an insulator, it traps ground "heat" (heat in winter storage is relative) and also keeps soil moist and not exposed to dying wind.

Additionally, mulch also keeps tree cold in the spring, when temporary warm ups can spur unmulched plants into early growth. FYI, once growth starts on deciduous trees, they lose most, if not all, or their ability to withstand freezing temperatures. If a maple tree with new leaves is left out in such conditions and the roots freeze, the tree dies...



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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  JudyB on Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:46 am

mulch mulch, on the ground, hardware cloth surround. Don't know what could go wrong with this setup...

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  Guest on Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:10 am

JudyB wrote:mulch mulch, on the ground, hardware cloth surround. Don't know what could go wrong with this setup...

yup, and my answer was mainly inspired from my experiences with keeping native trees, they are offcourse more hardy.

Last winter it froze to -15 to -18Celsius, that is about 5 Fahrenheit. I've had several trees outside without any serious protection, only in semishade or close to a wall or in a corner. They had wind, rain, frost, wind, rain, sun,... no dieback no damage, but I'm talking about

Most of my trees I had in an plastic playhouse shed (my boys playhouse becomes 1 of my wintersheds in winter Wink with an open window, nothing on the ground (terraced) but a wooden pallet, wind and cold could get through the gaps in the corners and in the plastic roof etc. I've had not a single tree with damage, I've seen them freeze stiff inside that playhouse, but they were kept from heavy winds, and I suspect when it was 5 Fahrenheit outside, that would have been 10 or 15 Fahrenheit inside.

I'm just saying, you gotta take extra care of the non-native trees, but the native trees can handle a strong winter with only 'some' protection against the heaviest of winter pricks.

If you really want a super protection, you can, but it is a necessity? in my experiences, no

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:22 pm

Mulch it is then!! I have about a month before it gets cold enough to winterize my trees so I have time to buy bags of mulch, walls, hardware cloth, and some mouse traps. I suppose it's better to go in all in and see how it goes to be on the safe side! Laughing

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  lordy on Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:01 am

If you wait til the freeze happens to mulch, it helps keep the temperature fluctuation to a minimum. Freezing may not be as much of an issue as repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Also, freezing wind will cause fine-twig dieback, so block the wind from all sides if possible. I use my foundation wall with 3 old steel doors laying on the long edge. Mulch around the pots up to the bottom branches, and open at the top of the "pen" so rain and snow can keep the trees naturally watered. My "set it and forget it" (not really) over wintering space has worked well for many years now.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:08 am

lordy wrote:If you wait til the freeze happens to mulch, it helps keep the temperature fluctuation to a minimum. Freezing may not be as much of an issue as repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Also, freezing wind will cause fine-twig dieback, so block the wind from all sides if possible. I use my foundation wall with 3 old steel doors laying on the long edge. Mulch around the pots up to the bottom branches, and open at the top of the "pen" so rain and snow can keep the trees naturally watered. My "set it and forget it" (not really) over wintering space has worked well for many years now.

Thanks for the advice! I'll post some pictures once I have everything ready.

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  lordy on Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:48 am

I found this shot of my storage area from several years ago. As it turns out the steel doors are with windows. The space is on the north side of my house which gets no sun in the fall and winter so that helps keep the temps down too.


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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:07 pm

I have a change of plans. I am going winter the trees up in my unheated attached room. I'm going to need to block out the sun from the sides (pic 1) and open some panels from the back side (pic1) so it says cool. I am going to monitor the temperature variation to make sure the room doesn't have huge temperature swings.

So no more mulching and worrying about rodents! Smile







Last edited by AboveBeyond on Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:16 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  Guest on Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:10 pm

you're spoiled with options Very Happy
great

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  rockm on Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:59 pm

I'd be very careful using this room. The sun exposure will lead to warming temps in the day (even if you block the window light--as the roof and walls will become warm and transfer than heat inside...Since heat rises, unless the room beneath it is unheated, you will have additional heat coming in.

This location could lead to early bud break and you might be left trying to keep it above freezing in Feb. as your trees push new leaves...

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:47 am

rockm wrote:I'd be very careful using this room. The sun exposure will lead to warming temps in the day (even if you block the window light--as the roof and walls will become warm and transfer than heat inside...Since heat rises, unless the room beneath it is unheated, you will have additional heat coming in.

This location could lead to early bud break and you might be left trying to keep it above freezing in Feb. as your trees push new leaves...

The room beneath it is unheated. I will have to keep an keen eye on the temperature fluctuations. I think opening up the panels will help regulate the temperature (eg, open more panels when it gets too warm or open less when it gets too cold).

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:17 pm

Do you plan to water your trees? Will they all have water trays to prevent the floor from getting wet? Or is it all right to water the "deck"?
Todd scratch

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Re: Outside Wintering Location

Post  AboveBeyond on Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:57 pm

Todd Ellis wrote:Do you plan to water your trees? Will they all have water trays to prevent the floor from getting wet? Or is it all right to water the "deck"?
Todd scratch

I ordered some plant growing trays that I will be using to keep the water from dripping down to ground. Smile

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