Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

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Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  DenisL on Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:11 pm

In this beautiful first day of spring and awesome sunshine and high temperatures in Western New York reaching mid 70s, the question I have to ask about is WINTER related!!!

As I stated in a previous post, I am taking it easy this time and not going all gun-ho on the local flora and nursery materials. I am reading a lot and making sure all my "duckies" are lined up and not murdering any potential trees yet Confused

Please give me some hints on your "winterization" procedure in this part of the country. I read and heard many different things. Tell me what you actually do and what actually works for you, to keep those prized trees well protected from the frigid winter in our area. Thank you for your input.

Of course, I don't have a greenhouse, so the non-greenhouse growers input is most valuable to me.

DenisL
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  Poink88 on Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:23 pm

I am new as well but what I did over here (Austin, TX) where winter is very mild is this...
1. Move my tropicals in my dining area which is okay for a few days but not for months. The centralized heating also did not help since it keep the humidity very low.
2. I installed a make shift shelving in my garage and two (2) 2 bulb 48" long T8 lights. it worked great in protecting my tropicals from the cold but the humidity (though higher than inside my house) is still low and it stunted the growth of my plants. It kept them alive and doing okay now outside.
3. I now plan to make a cold frame in my back patio next winter made of plastic sheeting and PVC pipes with heating wires under the pots and a backup oil filled electric heater. Both will be connected to a thermostatic plug.

Again note that we usually have a much milder winter here than you have. Note that your set-up will highly depend on what type, size, & qty trees you plan on procuring. If you want to keep it simple, get local plants that need no (or minimal) winter care & fitted to your (or colder) area. Good luck!

Poink88
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  JimLewis on Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:06 pm

Please give me some hints on your "winterization" procedure in this part of the country. I read and heard many different things. Tell me what you actually do and what actually works for you, to keep those prized trees well protected from the frigid winter in our area. Thank you for your input.

Go talk with Bill Valavanis at the International Bonsai Arboretum there in Rochester. He is THE one in that area to get you pointed in the right direction. And congrats for having the common sense to do some homework before leaping into this sport.

We hear from too many folks who seem never to have grown a radish, but who have bought themselves a dozen trees and want it all RIGHT NOW!

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  lordy on Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:03 pm

I would presume that the goal for any climate that experiences colder than freezing temps is to moderate the fluctuation of the temps in the rootzone. It is my understanding that roots can freeze and survive, but repeated freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw is not good for roots. Here in Maryland I leave my trees outdoors all year. After about Thanksgiving (for this latitude) I look for a good freeze, and then I place my trees on the ground next to the foundation of my house. Being on the ground is important so as to keep the frigid air from circulating under and around the pots. I mulch around and on top of the pots to help keep the temps from fluctuation too much. I then fashion a windbreak on the 3 sides not against the foundation wall, so the trees are protected from wind on all 4 sides and the ground. I leave the top open so rain and snow can get in. Snow actually is a good insulator. I actually want the trees to freeze and stay that way until spring, rather than to get warm, then cold, then warm, etc.
Watch out for heavy snows that could damage branches. I have a sheet of plastic lattice from a home center store and support it with a couple of 2x4s across the old exterior doors that I use as windbreaks. The lattice helps keep the heavy snow off while still giving moisture a way in. Works for me.

lordy
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  DenisL on Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:47 pm

Thanks guys please keep the information coming. Jim, I am actually signed up and I am taking Bill's beginner's 5 weeks workshop in April. I watched Bill's demonstration at Garden Scape 2012 - Rochester this last weekend and simply drooled over his trees on display. Bill is a master!! Some of his trees are unbelivably beautiful and beautifully trained. I have not seen many of Bill's trees "live" yet, but the Crabaple and the Winter Hazel he had on display at the show...WOW!!! The local Bonsay Club (I am a member now!!) was also there with an exhibit and they brought out some very nice trees. I met some guys and talked to them about the subject as well. I am just trying to "suck in" as much knowledge as I can. In Bill's workshop I will get my first trees to work on under his tutelage. I have some ficus benjamina in the house, a real big one all fused at the bottom and about 7 feet tall that I may chop and try to make it into a real Bonsai some day, but not for some time. I have had it for a long time to just "chop" without enough knowledge. I also read Jerry Mieslik's book about Ficus. He has done AMAZING work with Ficus...and all 100% indoors!!

DenisL
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  JimLewis on Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:23 pm

I am just trying to "suck in" as much knowledge as I can.

That's great. You will always do best, however, sucking it up with people from your own area -- like Bill V. Or Iris.

You will always get an answer here, too . . . BUT . . . often people assume you live where They live and you can get some advice that is not good for your trees. And then there are the people who also have just started out in the sport and who -- in a well-intentioned effort to help -- may give you some advice that is not as well informed as they might think it is.

Ficus are fun up north where you are, but I hope you plan on working on trees that grow outside, too. That's where trees belong.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  LSBonsai on Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:33 pm

Hi Java,

Rock's advice is good - talk to Bill. He is an amazing resource. I am in Toronto zone 6, so have a similar climate.

I've seen Bill's wintering conditions and they are basically in a garage type setting. It is extremely professional. I don't have this option, so I'll share with you what I do.

First, I only grow very hardy trees. Japanese maples and especially tridents are really borderline here the way I overwinter. Natives are always best. American larch, thuja, spruce, potentilla, can all be overwintered with basically no protection, but setting them on the ground in a shady space is definitely a good idea.

I usually just bury the pots and mulch. I try to leave them in a shady protected spot so they will stay dormant as long as possible. And I put up a makeshift chickenwire fence around my best trees to offer "some" protection against rabbits. You are always at the mercy of mice and squirrels, but apparently mothballs help. I've never used them.

As soon as it snows, cover the trees! You may also want to burlap wrap very ramified trees, as harsh winds/sun/-20 degrees C can cause some twig dieback even on hardy trees.

If you grow less hardy, exotic trees, you will need a more sophisticated system. My only advice is to keep it as simple as possible. The more complicated the system, the more things that can go wrong.

Hope that helps Smile

LSBonsai
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  drgonzo on Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:24 am

JimLewis wrote:
I am just trying to "suck in" as much knowledge as I can.

That's great. You will always do best, however, sucking it up with people from your own area -- like Bill V. Or Iris.

Chris (coh), Neil Jaeger, and I are also here on IBC and are in your area.

In winter all my tropicals live inside in front of my 5X8 foot south window, my Deciduous go in my slab floor unheated rental house which stays at a pretty constant 38 degrees and can even stay cold enough to hold the trees in dormancy well into spring.

Iris has told me that Bill uses a thermostatic heater to maintain a minimum temp in the garage.
-Jay

drgonzo
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  Dave Murphy on Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:40 am

I'm pretty sure Bill's garage is kept at 27F during the winter...frozen soil means no watering Very Happy .

Dave Murphy
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

Post  coh on Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:55 pm

I was thinking he aims for 28 (think I heard that somewhere), but it's the same idea...just below freezing.

I'm still figuring out my winter procedures. I have several places I keep plants...hardiest go outdoors, pots buried and mulched (and wind protected). Next level is the unheated but attached garage. Then I partition off a section of the garage with plastic and some supplemental heat and try to keep that area consistently above 25 F. Finally I have an unheated "mud room" that usually stays between 35 - 45 during an average winter. Less hardy trees like redwood and camellia go there...and some of the other trees get moved there temporarily during real cold spells.

This past "winter" was a real chore, though...it never got consistently cold and I was moving trees around all the time, trying to keep them dormant.

coh
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Re: Winter process / procedure for your trees - Zone 6

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