Have some Q's about preparing for winter (ie timing my last prunes of the growing-season!)

SU2

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I've got a bit of a problem- during the nights where it was too-cold to leave things outside last winter, I'd play 'tetris' and somehow manage to jam them all into my screened patio- however, with what I've got this summer, that would never ever work as I've learned about not over-pruning and now have a collection of large bushes-on-trunks basically!

So- these specimen are bougies/crapes/ficus and some random things (jacardanda, BC, grape vine, firebush), and they're having a great growing-season, and I guess I'm picturing/wondering-about the idea of doing a pretty-hard-prune late in the growing-season, for the purpose of lessening the space they take-up! I guess I'm thinking that, if I time a hard-prune just right, I should have the new growth hardened in time for winter and the only 'large', sticking-out branches will be that new growth that I can easily-enough wire upward to reduce any specimen's foot-print!

Does this sound like a solid approach? I have ~25% more trees than last year now, including several really large ones, so am going to have an even worse time this winter and want to be ready, hoping for thoughts on when is a good window to do that last hard-prune as well as whether my thinking here makes sense / is the right way to approach this! Thanks a ton for any suggestions/help on this one :D

[btw, it'll be my first winter with BC's- I collected 2 larger ones in Jan while dormant and they're now bushes (never pruned any of their branches, though I did remove a bunch of the redundant ones), those are a worry for me if I have to bring them indoors- however, unlike my bougies/crapes, I can expect the BC's to truly go dormant / lose their leaves, I guess I'm just wondering whether I can do the "dormant prune in preparation for the growing-season of '19" right when those leaves have fallen-off, or if I should wait til right-before-Wake-Up? Also have the impression that I'm able to leave my BC's outdoors all winter, because they're in full dormancy, is that the case?]
 

choppychoppy

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The proper way is to erect a simple cold frame form the couple months you need it. The bouganvilla and ficus need protection. This can be done for less than $50. If ANY of your trees matter to you then care for them correctly. Pruning them and wiring branches so that they can take up less space and cramming them together in the winter is poor care. Quit trying to go out of your way to do things different. Set up the cold frame.

The crepe myrtles and bald cypress do not need any protection from the seasons at all.
 

Silentrunning

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The Jacaranda and grape vine don’t need protection either. Mine were fine down to 17 degrees F when I lived in Florida.
 
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SU2

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The proper way is to erect a simple cold frame form the couple months you need it. The bouganvilla and ficus need protection. This can be done for less than $50. If ANY of your trees matter to you then care for them correctly. Pruning them and wiring branches so that they can take up less space and cramming them together in the winter is poor care. Quit trying to go out of your way to do things different. Set up the cold frame.
Thanks a ton, I was trying to find a 'cheat' to get around that but you're right, I've gotta bite the bullet and build something... my tiny backyard is ~20'x25' and ringed 100%/entirely with bonsai-benches (my 'bench-fence', lol), anyways I've got 4x4's on-hand so could build a stand-alone cold-frame or - and I'm unsure if this is 'a thing' or not - or I could set 4x4's *around* the corners of a bench or two and basically have a cold frame on/over a bench or two (and then cram everything in there, 'cram' is a bad word I mean I'd make just enough space for what I needed, as most of the winter I want them outside in the sun, my bougies don't drop leaves in the winter, the framing would probably only be used ~3-6 times over the winter, most of the time it's just fine!)

Really though thanks for putting it that way, you're very right and I'm sure I'll spend less time / get better results just building them some protection than I'd get by trying to time prunings to 'tetris' them! I've gotta ask though, and apologies for it being kind of tangential to the cold-issue, but regardless of cold-storage I was intending to do a hard-prune on many of my bushes so I could get another flush, I'm going to post a couple pics in hopes you could give me your instinct on whether or not they should get a prune this year (I've still got almost half my growing-season left here!) or not:

20180714_162948.jpg 20180723_104804.jpg 20180714_164200.jpg

[those pics are all from the past ~week, the last one I certainly don't think is ready for a prune yet but hoping it is this season, the middle one is a crape that I'd let flower and pruned-off just the flowers in-expectation of a vegetative flush, instead I got that 2nd flower-flush, so am unsure if it's smarter to let it keep flowering or hard-prune; and that first one is a large (~10" base) bougie that's ready to start flowering, it's definitely ready for a hard-prune (AFAIK!) but am gun-shy about pruning bougies-ready-to-flower...]

The crepe myrtles and bald cypress do not need any protection from the seasons at all.
That is EXCELLENT to hear :D The two BC's and the large crape are some of the biggest PITA's in terms of protection (due to size of course) so that's very good! Was pretty sure it was the case for BC's but crapes I didn't know! I live in an area where some crapes go dormant and lose their leaves while others don't (I had crapes keep leaves all through last winter, as did all of my bougies), I know I don't want to go into winter w/o knowing all shoots are hardened-off appropriately- Do you have any advice on when the last pruning should be, in terms of time-til-frost-risk? I'm guessing ~3mo, ie 3 months before frost-date is the absolute latest to prune anything, as the resultant growth wouldn't be ready for winter otherwise- is that on-point?

Again thank you very much for telling me what you did, the way you did...I don't know why I didn't get there myself and think a part of me knew I'd have to do that but was just trying to work-around it, I appreciate your reply a lot :)

The Jacaranda and grape vine don’t need protection either. Mine were fine down to 17 degrees F when I lived in Florida.
Thanks! I've since learned it's not a jacaranda (it's "Albizia lebbeck"), I actually had thought it was a royal poinciana at first, then a jacaranda, then found out it was a common, invasive tree from my area! I'd collected it when it was a neat little stump with small foliage, the tiny leaflets fooled me!
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So now I'm just growing it out for fun, the thing had an incredibly long tap-root that I removed, fearing it'd kill the tree- not only did the tree not even seem to notice I'd severed >80% of its root-mass (and the entirety of root-hairs), but since I had the long tap-root with all its feeders, I stuck that in a pot (hey, crapes propagate from root-sections!) and, whaddya know, the root started throwing new shoots :D
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Sadly though it's a boring species, once my specimen got going this year it started putting out giant leaves, big enough to match in-ground specimen (note my hand in the upper-left here, the leaf on the left is from my specimen and the one on the right is on a large, in-ground specimen:
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choppychoppy

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So this is simple and cheap. Two foot pieces of rebar in the ground and the pvc slid over. Throw a couple sheets of plastic over the top and you can roll up the sides when its hot.

20161027_081228.jpg
 

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