Am I overwintering or do I have a greenhouse?

Discussion in 'New to Bonsai' started by Culper Woodhull, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
    I've debated a ton on how I'm going to overwinter my Juniper Bonsai. Leave it in the pot on the ground, buried in the ground, the garage(I thought this would kill it, but I guess it can be done) and finally use my egress window. I felt the egress window would be best, as it would keep the snow off, let it have natural light and keep the harsh winds. As you can see in the photo's, there is a clear top to the egress window. You can see trees through the lid, the photos don't do it justice. It's not seal tight or anything and you might be able to see a rock holding it down.

    Problem: I went to the basement to check on the Juniper, it's still just as green as the day I got it. The two apple tree's that my children and I planted together are in there too. I thought it would be a great place for them to overwinter as well, but it appears they still have green leaves. Granted the Juniper is starting to brown a bit on top and the apple trees don't have nearly the amount of leaves they had on them before. Outside is currently 34 degrees F. Not a tree in my area has a leaf on them and my garden looks like tumble weeds. The temperature inside the egress window is warmer than the outside temperature but still cold.

    Question: Will this egress window create a greenhouse effect and prevent the Juniper from going dormant? Should I wait a little longer? Our winter is only just getting started and will be much colder soon with snow on the way sometime soon. Also, if anyone knows anything about apple trees, would it be ok for them to remain in the egress window if it is creating a greenhouse effect? I really don't want them to die, my children would be bummed.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
  4. aml1014

    aml1014 Masterpiece

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    I'd make sure it stays under 40°f. Personally if it's only 34°f outside I leave my junipers out, I only offer my conifers minimal protection (placing on the ground) when it's going to be under 15°f.
    Trees are far more tough then most think.

    Aaron
     
  5. JudyB

    JudyB Imperial Masterpiece

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    Location:
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    Looks like there is a lot of light able to get into that, which is heat. I think you'd be fine in your zone to use the window well without the lid on it, and bury your pots in mulch. Is this on the sunny side of your house? You'll want the shadiest, most protected from wind that you can find. I would say you've created a greenhouse.
     
  6. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
    I see you're from New Mexico, not sure if there is a major difference. I live in Northern KY, Southern Ohio/Indiana Area. I think on average our temp in the winter is about 20 f, but we definitely get some below 0 action. Would you still advise just placing on the ground and let snow cover the tree? I'm really nervous for winter as this is my first time overwintering. My tropical should fare rather well on the other hand.

    This is the only protection I can provide, new house, no fence or deck....just the house and this is the only egress window. This would be exactly East facing, so you're correct, quite a bit of sun. If I were to maybe open it a foot and have something under the lid to prop it up. Again, I'm worried of snow covering the tree.....but it also sounds ridiculous, because trees get covered in snow all the time and they wake in the Spring. Also, the egress window we're a bit leery about. When we bought the house there were water stains on the cement under the egress window and we think that's why the previous owners put the lid on with a rock on top.
     
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  7. GrimLore

    GrimLore Imperial Masterpiece

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    Location:
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    Mine freeze and defrost all Winter. They go dormant, change color and some actually turn purple... They wake up in Spring a grow at a rather quick rate. Bottom line they like it.

    Grimmy
     
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  8. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
    I see you quoted a statement of mine, but to be sure....in a covered egress window or outside?
     
  9. GrimLore

    GrimLore Imperial Masterpiece

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    Location:
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    Outside all year, especially ANY type of Juniper -

    IMG_0891.JPG

    Grimmy
     
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  10. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
  11. Underdog

    Underdog Shohin

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    471
    Location:
    Ohio
    Just like that on the bench? Surly mulched away in really cold stuff? Maybe I'm being over protective with my junk trees.
     
  12. GrimLore

    GrimLore Imperial Masterpiece

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    Yes, and when I had potted proper Bonsai I did the same, keep in mind if they came from a warm climate I "shed" them the first Winter with me and after that they stay straight up out there -

    GEDC1398.JPG

    GEDC1401.JPG

    Grimmy
     
  13. aml1014

    aml1014 Masterpiece

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    I never mulch my conifers, just put them on the ground out of heavy wind when it goes under 15, never lost a tree to winter.

    Aaron
     
  14. sorce

    sorce Pokemon Go Master

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    Location:
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    I would love to have that window! Or 6!

    Easy access....great view!

    Just throw a thermometer in there.

    You probly gotta just crack the top like a quarter inch.

    Not only is it gonna greenhouse a little, but your houses heat will want to go there too.

    I would use that to your advantage....

    I would fill up a black contractor bag, or tarp with mulch....drop it in there, spread it around so your pots are just barely covered....that'll trap all that house and ground heat for your roots, while your quarter inch crack keeps the tops cool.

    Then in spring, pull out the tarp mess free.

    Nice.

    Sorce
     
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  15. Brian Van Fleet

    Brian Van Fleet Imperial Masterpiece

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  16. JudyB

    JudyB Imperial Masterpiece

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    If he can open the top. If he can't open the top, he is creating an unheated greenhouse because it sits in the sun...
    Maybe you could cover the top with shade cloth or cardboard to keep the sun out? You just need to find a way to keep heat buildup from happening, which means shade and venting.
     
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  17. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
    If I did this, how often and how much would I need to water? When it was down there, the soil seemed to stay moist way longer than expected. Even more apparent with the apple saplings soil. For now I've got the Juniper outside on top of the clear cover. My theory is that the egress window well will stay heated like a green house, or cold frame as Brian Van Fleet has mentioned. As you have mentioned, the heat from my house will also contribute. Grimmy pointed me in the right direction for growing my Fukien Tea indoors with a grow light to build a reflector box ....here's the thread for reflector box: http://www.bonsainut.com/threads/diy-reflector-box-for-indoor-bonsai-lighting.25466/#post-410132 User dannylightning had built it and essentially its using white to reflect the light instead of other reflective material like tin foil etc. I call it a white box. Anyways, if you look at the egress window well, it is very white, I bet this would help contribute to the heating factor as well . So I hope it will help "insulate' my juniper for the heavy stuff. We just had our first snow today so I hope I'm right. With that being said I'd still like to use it because I have nothing outside to protect the Juniper from heavy winds, not to mention the convenience and nice view. I'll need to buy a thermometer, like you've suggested, and take some temperatures first before I bring it down. If I can't use it for my bonsai, I can definitely use it as a greenhouse/cold frame, again, depending on the temperatures, I'll keep this thread posted with my findings.
     
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  18. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
    I can open the top. One side is zip tied to the metal grate so the lid doesn't take flight during a windy day, so I can easily make proper adjustments and modifications.
     
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  19. Dav4

    Dav4 Imperial Masterpiece

    In zone 6 Kentucky, it can get cold (20's F for daytime highs and lows in single digits or below 0 F) and stay that cold for weeks. I'd put your trees on the ground up against the foundation of your house- preferably on the North or East side...whichever side will have the least chance of frozen snow or ice falling on it. Mulch the pots and water...then come back in March. Keep it simple....
     
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  20. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
    Update: After appropriate adjustments, I hope, my Juniper will overwinter in the window well/egress window. I placed 8 tiles, two thick at the four corners. I'm hoping this will allow the proper airflow and invite the necessary cold inside the window well. I have also added the moss to the Juniper....because its beautiful....that's why. If it doesn't last until spring then oh window well....I've given it my best shot. I'll continue to post progress, if any. Juniper Moss.jpg Juniper Window Well Adjustments.jpg
     
  21. Culper Woodhull

    Culper Woodhull Yamadori

    Messages:
    58
    Location:
    Westeros, USDA Zone - 6B
    What do you think Sorce?
     
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