derek7745's first maple - advice is welcome!

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Montreal
#1
Hi all,

Again thank you all for sharing so much information. I have been lurking on this website for a while, and finally decided to make the jump into bonsai myself!

Yesterday I went to Bonsai ENR in Quebec, Canada, and bought my first bonsai: an Acer Palmatum "select", whose parent tree apparently came from Vertrees in Oregon. I will be growing this tree outdoors in Montreal (but will take into a garage in the winter).

This branch was planted 15-20 years ago, i was told.

I wanted something with a trunk that was really wide down low, with a thick and very low first branch. This one satisfied those criteria.

I of course welcome any tips, recommendations, and visions! This is all brand new to me :)

I was told not to re-plant or graft until March or April. Would any of you recommend grafting in June/July or is this risky? I was going to use a lower, long, thin branch from the tree and pass it through a hole that I would drill higher-up on the tree.

Thank you!
Derek
 

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Location
Montreal
#4
It must not get as cold there as here.
You put that in a garage here for the winter and it will be dead in no time.
I know I've tried.
It certainly gets as cold in Montreal as it does in Michigan, but my garage is attached to my house, and stays above -10 Celsius (14F) all winter with the exception of a handful of days (in which cases it drops to -15 = 5F). I can also put it in an insulated box (and leave the box in the garage) when those colder days are foreseeable.

Do you think this is too cold?

I was planning for it to be dormant from early December to April -- is this an appropriate/acceptable length?

Also, how often should I be watering through dormancy? I read 1-2 weeks ?

Thank you
D
 

M. Frary

Bonsai Godzilla
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#6
It certainly gets as cold in Montreal as it does in Michigan, but my garage is attached to my house, and stays above -10 Celsius (14F) all winter with the exception of a handful of days (in which cases it drops to -15 = 5F). I can also put it in an insulated box (and leave the box in the garage) when those colder days are foreseeable.

Do you think this is too cold?

I was planning for it to be dormant from early December to April -- is this an appropriate/acceptable length?

Also, how often should I be watering through dormancy? I read 1-2 weeks ?

Thank you
D
We get down to 20 below zero consistently where I live.
Cold winters are even colder. Like 30 below and more.
If it's zero in a garage then it's warm.
 
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Location
Montreal
#7
For a pre-bonsai that is really nice. How wide is the base?
The trunk itself (right under the first branch) is nearly 2 inches in diameter. The base flares out to over 4 inches (diameter) right before entering the soil.

I'm hoping that that first branch really helps thicken my trunk quite a bit, and it already has many shoots that are long enough for grafting :)

I think I am going to cut the trunk right below that massive forward facing wound (in the 3rd photo).

At the moment, my goal is to keep that thick first branch and work on curving the upper part to get something like the following photo, taken from this thread: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/kashima-maple.22311/page-5

View attachment 141654
 
#8
my garage is attached to my house, and stays above -10 Celsius (14F) all winter with the exception of a handful of days (in which cases it drops to -15 = 5F). I can also put it in an insulated box (and leave the box in the garage) when those colder days are foreseeable.

Do you think this is too cold?
My Deshojo survived last January outside with day temperatures below zero (C) and going down to -10/-15C for multiple days in the night. But I'd say that that is risky. I will protect it more the next time.
So you should be fine ;-)
 
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Montreal
#9
My Deshojo survived last January outside with day temperatures below zero (C) and going down to -10/-15C for multiple days in the night. But I'd say that that is risky. I will protect it more the next time.
So you should be fine ;-)
Thank you!
Can I please ask -- when it gets that cold, do you avoid watering it (to limit the chance of freezing?)

Thank you
D
 
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#11
Definitely. Water will freeze and kill the roots.
Thanks for the quick reply!

How long can it go without water in the winter? From January to March i can have stretches of 5-10 days of below 0 degrees (celcius) with only 1-3 days in between those stretches of 1-5 degrees (celsius)

Thank you
D
 
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Montreal
#13
I don't know about Japanese maples but roots freezing doesn't kill trees.
Mine are all frozen solid for 4 months.
You don't need to water then.
Thanks for your help Mike! Our Montreal winters are certatinly closer to yours in Michigan than they are to Andrew's in Atlanta. But now i'm confused, freezing doesn't kill trees? What did you mean then by:

It must not get as cold there as here.
You put that in a garage here for the winter and it will be dead in no time.
I know I've tried.
Can I please ask, what has killed your trees during the winter if not freezing? (and what kind of trees?)

Thank you
D
 

M. Frary

Bonsai Godzilla
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#14
The Japanese maples can take freezing temperatures but not down below zero to 10 degrees for long.
The trees I have can take 30 below zero or more.
They are more cold hardy.
Trees in the landscape have their roots frozen all winter long. 30 to 32 degrees is frozen but trees put out an anti freeze. Some are more adapted to the cold.
If a tree can live in your landscape it can live as a bonsai with protection. Meaning mine are on the ground,protected from the wind. Insulated with straw up to the first branch and covered with snow. The snow is the key. It insulates real well.
 

Dav4

Imperial Masterpiece
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#15
You want water in the soil when it gets cold. Once the soil freezes, you can stop watering. Placing snow, when available, on the soil surface, is all the watering you'll need to do when it's frozen. 5f is a bit cold for unprotected roots. Having the pot in the floor and mulched with wood chips will protect it from extreme cold as well as warming too soon. You will have to watch for mice, who love maple bark.
 
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Location
Montreal
#17
You want water in the soil when it gets cold. Once the soil freezes, you can stop watering. Placing snow, when available, on the soil surface, is all the watering you'll need to do when it's frozen. 5f is a bit cold for unprotected roots. Having the pot in the floor and mulched with wood chips will protect it from extreme cold as well as warming too soon. You will have to watch for mice, who love maple bark.
Good to know! Thank you!!

The Japanese maples can take freezing temperatures but not down below zero to 10 degrees for long.
The trees I have can take 30 below zero or more.
They are more cold hardy.
Trees in the landscape have their roots frozen all winter long. 30 to 32 degrees is frozen but trees put out an anti freeze. Some are more adapted to the cold.
If a tree can live in your landscape it can live as a bonsai with protection. Meaning mine are on the ground,protected from the wind. Insulated with straw up to the first branch and covered with snow. The snow is the key. It insulates real well.
Thank you!
 
#18
I don't know about Japanese maples but roots freezing doesn't kill trees.
Mine are all frozen solid for 4 months.
You don't need to water then.
Mike, I'm not sure if dry soil freezing and wet soil freezing has the same effects on the roots. But I'm not an expert.

I know that when it's very cold here, I don't water but we don't get months of freezing temps.
 

0soyoung

Masterpiece
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#20
Trees survive temperatures below 0C/32F by increasing the level of sugars in their tissues - sugar is antifreeze.

Water expands when it freezes. This is why ice floats and is found atop liquid ponds, lakes (and at the north pole in winter, for that matter). So your pot may get broken by the expansion, but your tree's roots don't get crushed by water freezing in the substrate