Using snow to water?

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Using snow to water?

Post  Neil Jaeger on Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:48 pm

I was told to pile snow on trees that you have put in the ground for the winter. What can you do if it is below freezing and you don't have any snow to pile on? Then on those days when it's alittle warmer and some of the snow on the bottem melts to water a bit and you can't tell if they need it or not. Can you use ice cubes? My trees are in the ground pot and all (about 1 foot). Will the tree absorb all the water in the pot and not be able to get moisture from the frozen soil above? Any help will be greatly appriecheted.

Neil

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Using snow to water?

Post  Guest on Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:16 pm

Hello Neil. Who told you to pile snow around trees in the ground? I see no reason to do this at all. If trees are below freezing then they will not be taking up any water anyway. By keeping the rootball below ground, the surrounding soil should keep the bonsai moist when temperature rises enough to thaw anyway.

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Re: Using snow to water?

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:02 pm

Back when I lived in Massachusetts, I kept many of my trees in an unheated garage/shed and would place snow on the mulched pots to to provide water as it melted and provide some insulation. Never actually watered those trees from December till March or April, as they were almost always frozen solid.

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Re: Using snow to water?

Post  Neil Jaeger on Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:04 pm

Ok, thank you Will. i have a few others in pots that i have in wood boxes with peat moss around them. I put pantyhose around them to keep the soil in. I checked them today and the soil was frozen. These i can ckeck when it gets warmer, but i guess im asking can the san jose juniper and japanese 5-needle survive frozen roots for a long pierod of time?

Thank you,

Neil

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Re: Using snow to water?

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:40 pm

Neil Jaeger wrote:, but i guess im asking can the san jose juniper and japanese 5-needle survive frozen roots for a long pierod of time?

Thank you,

Neil

Yes, all winter, actually, just like the trees growing in your yard. As I mentioned in my first post, my trees were most often frozen solid by mid to late December and stayed that way until late March or April. The bigger issue isn't the frozen soil, but the tree's exposure to dessicating sun and wind.

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Re: Using snow to water?

Post  Neil Jaeger on Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:22 am

Thank you so very much for the info. I guess im just worring to much, they have been like that for a few weeks already so what is done is done. It is kind of funny, my wife is not into bonsai much at all, well she will go to a nursury once in a while but, she said you just have to pick one way (to winterize) and do it. What will happen, will happen. Also like i said this is my first winter so this winterizing thing is stopping me from getting more bonsai. I don't want to kill them all my first winter.

Thanks again,

Neil

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Re: Using snow to water?

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 06, 2010 2:30 am

All my trees live outdoors all Winter on my benches. They are almost all native to the UK and cope better with Winter weather than imported trees. The only time they are moved is when there is a freezing wind and evven then they sit under the benches to give them some shelter. I have done this for nearly 15 years, with no ill effects.

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Re: Using snow to water?

Post  RichLewis on Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:49 am

will baddeley wrote:All my trees live outdoors all Winter on my benches. They are almost all native to the UK and cope better with Winter weather than imported trees. The only time they are moved is when there is a freezing wind and evven then they sit under the benches to give them some shelter. I have done this for nearly 15 years, with no ill effects.

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Re: Using snow to water?

Post  fiona on Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:03 am

Ditto me.

Although he gets warmer summers, Will's winter temperatures/conditions are much the same as mine. The only junipers I have under cover are the shohin and the Itoigawa I am (hopefully) developing as a potential show-winner. These are now in an unheated greenhouse and as Will says, this is more to do with the dessicating winds (must stop having curry!) than the snow. My Trident Maple is in the greenhouse too, but the only other ones in there are those I really don't want to risk such as a couple of Blackthorn in training. But they will still spend a fair bit of the winter with frozen roots.


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Re: Using snow to water?

Post  MikeG on Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:30 am

Hi Neil

I'm not to far away from you in Toronto Ontario, zone 5, and like you this is also my first year overwintering trees. I found this article very helpful
http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/frzekill.htm

It points out just how tough trees really are and gives a good outline of what is happening inside the tree at different temps.
Snow is an excellent insulator. My local bonsai society highly recommends burying the tree pot and all and then cover with snow. Here where temps can be -20C for extended periods of time, its very important to keep the roots protected. Under the insulating snow temps. stay around -5C even when the air temp. is -20C. Last year was a major concern for gardeners here because we had very little snow but low temps. Even the grass was effected by not having that protective layer of snow.
Anyway, I'm sure you must have snow by now. It's white here and Buffalo normally gets hit harder then we do with storms off lake Erie.

Mike

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