You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

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You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Gary Swiech on Mon May 19, 2014 3:49 pm

Hello,

I've been practicing bonsai for 38 years and this past Winter had a prolonged period of below 0ºF. Even though I overwinter in a shelter that I try to keep at 28ºF, I experienced

damage on many of my bonsai due to the cold. Have any others experienced this?

The fine branches on my Trident maples, Zelkova and Field maples have died back and I'm waiting to see what's alive and what isn't. I know it happens from time to time but was simply

wondering if anyone is in the same situation with some winter injury.

TIA

Gary Swiech
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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Tom Simonyi on Mon May 19, 2014 4:19 pm

Hi, Gary: I am sorry to hear that. This past winter for me was one of the worst that I have experienced in recent memory regarding bonsai. I have been doing bonsai for about 28 years and this year have incurred the loss of three-fourths of my temperate trees....the only two survivors at this point seem to be a korean hornbeam and a virginia pine.

Very tough indeed....my location is in northern West Virginia about 80 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pa.....

I will be interested in hearing from others. Thanks for your post.

Best regards,
Tom

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  JimmyZ on Mon May 19, 2014 4:28 pm

I've been growing and training bonsai for over 30 years as well and suffered 50% loss with this past NY winter. Truly heartbreaking considering the time and effort spent on these trees.

Best wishes,
Jimmy Z


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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  DougB on Mon May 19, 2014 4:53 pm

Not any better further south. I am in the sandhills of North Carolina in zone 8. But my/our losses here were also very high. I guess the moral is to be better prepared for extremes.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Gary Swiech on Mon May 19, 2014 4:55 pm

I expected there would be at least a few responses concerning this last Winter's prolonged cold spell. It happens to the best of us, but this year
was especially bad. I know here in central Wisconsin we had a spell of over 20 days in a row where the day and nigh-time temps stayed below 0º
with the lows in the -20ºF range.

I even lost two Emperor 1 Japanese maples I had planted next to my deck, outside in 2005, and I know they've withstood -25º some winters since but I think it was the prolonged cold that was the culprit.

My feelings go out to you, I know how it feels to loose bonsai you've worked on for many years.

Tom,
My Korean hornbeam made it through also as well. My Ginkgoes, the oldest trees in my collection also made it through with no injury at all.


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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Gary Swiech on Mon May 19, 2014 4:59 pm

DougB wrote:
I guess the moral is to be better prepared for extremes.

I think you are spot on. The weather is changing quickly and I think we need to adapt.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon May 19, 2014 5:58 pm

i have only been involved for a few years and this past winter was my 3rd over-wintering my deciduous and conifers...

i believe i have lost a beautiful little mugo pine that i picked just last year, but hadnt worked on yet, so thats just a monetary loss...

worse though is my kingsville boxwood that i purchased last year and had begun some work on, but not repotted... i still have hope for him though and am being patient with his hopeful recovery as from what i understand they are really slow growers, but this one is some beautiful material with great potential, so...

any tips on how to help it along, or how to determine if its worth helping it along, would be greatly appreciated (already had some thoughts from our collective, but would still like to hear what others might suggest)

oh yeah... lost a couple azaleas too, but those were just orphans from a garden center discount rack, so no huge loss, but still...

other than that, my elms, maples, junipers, dawn redwoods, horn beam, etc all seem to be doing well.
(i over-winter in a garage with 1 small south facing window, but its insulated and we park our cars in it at night, so theres that bit of ambient warmth when we pull in at nite... which of course quickly whooshes out when we open the door in the morning  Rolling Eyes )

gary - what part of wisconsin you from ?
i am pretty close to lake michigan, but we experianced very little in the normal "warmer near the lake in winter" and only 1 decent thaw that i recall...

kevin

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Tom Simonyi on Mon May 19, 2014 6:17 pm

Gary: Glad to hear that your Korean hornbeam(s) made it through o.k.....still not sure about mine - the buds are still very tight....I think (or maybe imagine :-) that the tips are showing a bit of green. The candles have just begun to move on my virginia pine during the last few days.

Kevin: I have only been working with kingsvilles for about four years. I winter them indoors under fluorescents during the winter months (from about early November until early to mid-May). They have grown quite well. Hope this helps.

Best regards,
Tom

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon May 19, 2014 7:12 pm

Tom... i thought the kingsville's needed a dormant period !?!?  affraid 

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Tom Simonyi on Mon May 19, 2014 7:17 pm

I have read/heard that as well.....my indoor growing environment as I mentioned includes fluorescent lighting, but in an unheated garage where the winter temperature averages between 55-60 degrees with fairly constant humidity as I water on a regular basis.

Tom

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Oliver Muscio on Mon May 19, 2014 7:40 pm

I lost a couple of small privets. I am still waiting for my Rose of Sharon to bud out. This is the latest it has ever been, but I think I am beginning to see some movement. Everything else came through fine. Zone 6b.
Oliver

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  JimLewis on Mon May 19, 2014 9:13 pm

On the plus side, we won't have to buy pots for a few years. Lost all but one or two of my crape myrtles and the last of my North Florida (same zone as here) trees bit the dust as well.

My Korean hornbeam flew through 4 degree temperatures with flying colors. Satsuki all did fine, too.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  KennedyMarx on Mon May 19, 2014 10:35 pm

Lost two trident maples, a chinese elm, a holly, and possibly a yew. It was my first overwintering and I didn't provide enough wind protection. The holly is completely toast. The two maples got their buds blasted by the cold and I worked the roots putting them into a new soil mix like a fool. The bark still scratches green but they haven't pushed a single bud between the two of them. The yew is limping along. I hope I can get it back to healthy status with a little TLC.

The silver lining to this is that all of my junipers pulled through like champs.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Gary Swiech on Mon May 19, 2014 11:15 pm

Gary - what part of Wisconsin you from ?
i am pretty close to lake Michigan, but we experienced very little in the normal "warmer near the lake in winter" and only 1 decent thaw that i recall...

I'm located almost "Smack Dab" in the middle of Wisconsin. Between Green Bay and Eau Claire. It once was in the middle of a lake in the last days, when the last Ice-Age retreaded.

Five miles South of here is a ridge of rocks left by the last glaciation. On one side of the river, the soil is sand, on the other it is clay. Geologically it is very complicated.  

Cold air sinks into Central W. here during the Winter and can get cold but at the same time, the USDA, raised our Zone rating from 4b to 4a, a warmer outlook. It hasn't turned out that way
I hope the USDA makes some recommendations to their listing to include temperature fluctuations.

In the end, you get what you get. I had a whole row of 8' Cornus mass wiped out in 1992 or so due to 4 nights where it got to -43º at night and in the -30ºs during the day. then the temperature became normal again.

Go figure,
Gary


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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon May 19, 2014 11:20 pm

right on gary... i feel your pain and yeah the middle of the state can get way colder than by me... the thing about the zones that i noticed is that they give the maximum extreme cold temp average... so they were acurate, but what they dont take into account is duration of max extreme cold, which was so unusual this year...

one or 2 days of 30 below ?
no sweat...
weeks at a time and  Suspect 

the other odd thing for me was that the ones that i just stuck in the garden for the winter, and subsequently had no protection (except for thier cozy snow blanket  Rolling Eyes ), all came out aces... slow to bud so far, but everything is, so thats good. (they were elms, dwarf burning bush, a couple cheater contorted filberts, etc)

kevin

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  jalbright on Tue May 20, 2014 2:47 am

I find it interesting that people from WI to NC had similar experiences with lost trees this winter. Here in the Chicago area I also lost a couple of collected Privets (plus a collected Euonymous), and I thought they were almost bullet proof . And this was in a box that stayed between 33-38F. Can't help but think it was the duration as much as the actual cold.

Jay

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  M. Frary on Tue May 20, 2014 3:01 am

Here in Michigan where I live is always the coldest part of the lower peninsula. I'm in the northern part and we had sustained deep freeze. But we had a ton of snow. It came early and stayed. All of my trees sit behind the house sheltered from the wind and buried in snow. At the beginning of winter I also shoveled snow on top of them. I didn't lose a single tree but had some vermin chew on the trunk of a juniper.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  coh on Tue May 20, 2014 3:40 am

Sorry to hear about all the losses! I feel very fortunate in comparison, as all my trees seem to have come through unscathed. I say "seem to" because I know that sometimes winter damage allows trees to leaf out but they die later in the season so my fingers are crossed...

I overwinter about half of my trees in a shelter in my barn, which is heated to about 27/28 F. The other half go into my attached but unheated garage...some inside a plastic shelter that buffers the worst of the cold, the rest out in the open. Some pre-bonsai in nursery pots stay outside, with the pots sunk into the ground. Even all those survived, though a couple (boxwoods, in particular) did have some damage. A very small Japanese maple I planted in the ground last spring was severely damaged.

Many trees are very late blooming/leafing out, including those in the landscape. It's just starting to look like spring around here.

Good luck to everyone...

Chris

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  john jones on Tue May 20, 2014 6:15 am

I'm a novice. I've only been learning bonsai for 14 years.

I lost 9 out of 11 trees this winter. It was the worst in Iowa in the last 20 years.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  yamasuri on Tue May 20, 2014 12:08 pm

Every year I'm loosing trees after winter. I'm involved in bonsais for almost 40 years. I started when I was 25 years old and my father give me three of his pine bonsai trees. He was big gardener/hobbyist and bonsai fan. In 1994 I came live here in Canada and left all my trees back in Czech. Right after I got here I started looking for bonsais around. Bought few and lost them all because I had very little time to take care and I found the weather very harsh here so I said to myself..."maybe later on" Than after that break around 2008 I felt "why not try it bonsai again" and start get equipped and buing trees in nurseries around my home. The most important thing was to make tree survive winter. The smaller trees did buried in open ground for winter that worked since past "winter specialties" thaw and rain and back freezing/closing roots in ice. Last year I continue improve my bonsai winter protection. Build cold frame for less hardy and small bonsais. The medium size trees went to tent 8' x 10' and just few giants stayed shaded behind cabano. Well simply...last year lost about 5 Japanese Maples ...this year about 5 Pinus's, Cryptomeria, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Nana, 2 Ligustrums fight still for life and few Shimpakus got burned one badly. I posted my Pinus's pictures in "Pest and Diseases" forum section...if someone interested? Believe this results are so frustrating that I question myself "is it worth to continue??"....going against "mother Nature"?? I don't think so. Definitely I'll very reduce putting more money to this hobby. Period. That's my story.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  M. Frary on Tue May 20, 2014 1:23 pm

yamasuri wrote:Every year I'm loosing trees after winter. I'm involved in bonsais for almost 40 years. I started when I was 25 years old and my father give me three of his pine bonsai trees. He was big gardener/hobbyist and bonsai fan. In 1994 I came live here in Canada and left all my trees back in Czech. Right after I got here I started looking for bonsais around. Bought few and lost them all because I had very little time to take care and I found the weather very harsh here so I said to myself..."maybe later on" Than after that break around 2008 I felt "why not try it bonsai again" and start get equipped and buing trees in nurseries around my home. The most important thing was to make tree survive winter. The smaller trees did buried in open ground for winter that worked since past "winter specialties" thaw and rain and back freezing/closing roots in ice. Last year I continue improve my bonsai winter protection. Build cold frame for less hardy and small bonsais. The medium size trees went to tent 8' x 10' and just few giants stayed shaded behind cabano. Well simply...last year lost about 5 Japanese Maples ...this year about 5 Pinus's, Cryptomeria, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Nana, 2 Ligustrums fight still for life and few Shimpakus got burned one badly. I posted my Pinus's pictures in "Pest and Diseases" forum section...if someone interested? Believe this results are so frustrating that I question myself "is it worth to continue??"....going against "mother Nature"?? I don't think so. Definitely I'll very reduce putting more money to this hobby. Period. That's my story.
Sorry to hear all of your losses Vlad.( killer name by the way). I'm thinking you should maybe trying a different species collection. Trees that handle extremes. Like tamarack,American elm,scotch or mugo pine or procumbens juniper. I leave all of those sit out all winter here and it's worse than where you're at. Don't throw in the towel just yet.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  kirk@localbonsai.com on Tue May 20, 2014 3:59 pm

I wrote about it some here:

http://localbonsai.com/winter-storage/

Thanks,

-kdr152004

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you who live in North America How did your Bonsai do in the winter of 2014

Post  moyogijohn on Tue May 20, 2014 6:18 pm

I am sorry to hear of everyones loss !!!!! I know it was a very bad winter for all of us... I losted 5 of mine,, maybe 6 because my 2..0 year old trident has not budded yet.. had 2 of them 1 already died.. i think Jim Lewis said not to give up till july. everyone take care john

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  Oleg6 on Tue May 20, 2014 9:45 pm

I am in Toronto, your winters are worse than ours but this past winter was the worst in 20 years. I wintered some nursery trees outside in my garage for the first time, all dead, surprised as they were from local nurseries, and use to to the climate. The night temps. were -25 C for weeks and lower had a very bad ice storm but these were in the garage not affected by this or wind. I did not protect the pots, I don't see what this would do? The garage is attached and exactly, to the degree the same temp. as out side, I know this because I had thermometers inside and outside the garage. I have heard of root damage at -20C, you can't tell what the winter will bring so I won't do this again! As for my other trees, they go in the ground out of the pots, the cold here breaks the pots or chips off the glaze. I have 3 pines collected from 3 hours north -30C most winters, a fir I think, collected from Tobermory also -30 C for a norm, 2 San Jose junipers and a Chinese Juniper I think (thin trunk very slow growing susceptible to Cedar Apple Rust) the junipers are nursery sourced, and a locally collected Cherry for 14 years, the winters here can't kill them. This year I added a nursery bought larch and a locally collected Cedar all very hardy. These have gone against front of the house under the roof overhang, they get next to no snow on them for protection because of the roof and receive the full force of the wind, they are on the windy side of the house, I bury them deep and put leaves on the dirt but not the branches. Apart from that I do nothing and would not expect a death after 14 years, as for the others I don't know maybe if I buried and protected them for a couple of years they may have gained some resistance. I think it best to start with locally collected trees and slowly try very hardy types from nurseries. Among the dead Acer palm. Mikawa Yatsubusa, Ulmu parv. Seiju, Ulmus parv. Hokkaido, & a Bald Cypress.
Chris

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

Post  yamasuri on Wed May 21, 2014 1:48 am

Thanks M. Frary for kind words. It's also hard to give up completely.

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Re: You who live in the Northern parts of North America, how did your Bonsai overwinter -2014, Brutal Winter

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