Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

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Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:40 pm

Photos are available if needed.

I think the question is pretty generic, but paranoia is setting in and I'm trying to get a handle on it.

I picked up some nice nursery stock over the past two weeks. Cotoneaster, Yew, Boxwood, Alberta Spruce and some root bound Juniperus sp. (the little $3.00 ones). I picked up everything (except the Junipers) because they were nursery stock with strong primary trunks which is not the usual find. The Junipers were cheap and easy to get the grand kids learning about keeping them alive and working on as bonsa.

The Cotoneaster I've just trimmed back a tad to keep it manageable. THe boxwoods and yews I cleaned out the dead leaves and needles, trimmed out the bases to expose the trunks and lower branches and pinched back the excessive newest growth. The Alberta Spruce I took from a bush shape to what I see as the beginnings of a pair of formal uprights and the 10 Junipers (either Dwarf garden Junipers or San Jose Junipers (the nursery didn't know for sure) I just took out of their rootbound spike-like starter containers and repotted into 3" pots. (They were severely rootbound so I massaged the rootballs to get out some of the old soil, loosened up the roots to allow for the introduction of new soil.)

All that for the big questions:

1. Many of these appear to be at or close to being rootbound, do I risk transplanting them this late in the season or do I continue to make sure they are properly watered and hold out until late fall/early spring to transplant them?

2. At this point I'm inclined to stop all styling and wait until next year to resume working on these trees. (Although, there always seems to be a deep seated NEED to prune, pinch & wire).

Please feel free to chime in and again, photos can be down-loaded if desired.

Thanks,

Jay

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  Kev Bailey on Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:59 pm

I'd certainly leave them alone apart from a late season feed and then watering as required, until spring.

How you actually overwinter them I will leave to someone in a similar zone to you.

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  JimLewis on Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:59 pm

Rootbound almost never kills a tree. I'd say "never" but I was taught to never say never. Anyway, I wouldn't worry about it over the winter. The trees will be pretty quiet.

Give them some winter protection (a mound of mulch around the pots, placed near a southern house wall, in a cold frame, etc.) and water when the rootballs are NOT frozen.

Do your work in what passes for early spring in Illinois.

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:08 pm

Thanks, I have a coldframe that keeps them around 30 to 35 Deg F during the coldest part of the winter. I used it for the first time last year and opened it periodically to water and to vent during warmer days. The photo below is of the cold frame as set up at the previous owner's residence.


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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  redvw5 on Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:49 pm

Thats a nice cold frame setup you have there. Last year I just enclosed my shelf with styrofoam board and plastic over the top. I am thinking of heating my detached garage for my d trees. I just want it to stay around 35 degrees farenheit, so that its cold but not freezing. That way I can foray into some trident maples.

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:40 pm

Up until last year, I would make a "U" shaped starage area out of bales of straw. The open end would butt up against a basement window. One bale would be broken up to form a bedding. When it was time, my trees would be placed in the enclosure, boards placed accross the top and a bale broken into "flakes" to cover the boards. Usually, I would then throw a tarp over it all. It workd, but the number of trees I collected made it impractical.

The cold frame showed above also includes a ceramic heater (placed off of the floor and under a table to avoid shorting by leakage). It is plugged into a unit I bought at a local hardware store that then plugs into an extension cord. The unit is nothing more than a three-way plug that turns on at 35*F and off at 45*F. I place the heater low and the plug high. That way the trees are kept at approximately 28*F to 32*F. I can also set the heater temps as a safety guard and I added a remote thermometor so I can check the temps through the glass.

On warmer days, the top opens to vent the heat.

Jay

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  Smithy on Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:04 pm

That really is a fine cold frame.

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:24 pm

I wish I could say I designed it, but I didn't. I do plann on making some modifications to it this winter.

Jay

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  bobby little on Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:30 pm

that looks bigger than my house

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:46 pm

The glass front and top are glass storm doors, so they are approximately 32 inches by 82 inches.

The whole structure is approximately 4 foot deep, 12 foot wide and 5 feet tall at the top of the towers.

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

Post  NeilDellinger on Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:18 am

Jay,
I just moved from Bloomington, Illinois last fall. Your set up should be no problem at all. Its usually the drying wind AND temps that do the damage. Mulch and snow in Illinois will keep the pot a constant cold temp through the winter. If you repotted, I would overwinter in you attached garage if its availalbe.

Redvw5,
Tridents in Chicgoland should present no problem at all. I have several friends there that have many and overwinter with no issues. My bonsai teacher Matt Ouwinga has probably the largest collection of specimen/show quality tridents in the US (educated guess Smile ) and he overwinters in an extremely cold detached garage. I think it must have been 29F one day we plucked pine needles for 3 hours. All his trees are come out of dormancy like champs every year.

Neil

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Re: Prepping Nursery Stock for Winter

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