Juniper and winter storage

remist17

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I was given a juniper today and am not sure what preparations I need to make for winter. I plan on making a housing with off color plastic but I think I read some place Junipers need direct sun. Please advise what light juniper needs during the winter in 6B.

Also any suggestions on housing and preparing for winter storage. I was making the outdoor area for my trees and shrubs not thinking I would get a juniper for sometime.

I was also planning on putting the juniper in a large rubber made containg and filling it with dirt and mulch to protect the roots.
Good or bad?

Thanks
 
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bonsaiTOM

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Junipers are tough. Of course there are many varieties. But generally they can take the cold very well. You did not mention whether yours is a bonsai, pre-bonsai, in nursery pot, or what the container is.

After taking workshops at local clubs I've learned that the main issues with over wintering hardy bonsai materials are wind and sun. Wind burn in freezing temps cause a lot of damage, especially when it is sunny. This 'super dries' the foliage. Providing light during winter months is less important. Little light is needed during dormancy, and little moisture if the roots are frozen.

A different problem comes when Spring weather bounces back and forth between warm days and freezing nights - coaxing the plant out of dormancy too soon only to then damage newly stirred young roots and buds. A similar situation exists (in reverse) during Fall.

So here's what some teachers suggest. If you have an unheated space such as a garage, attached shed, enclosed porch, etc. where your juni will be protected from wind and sun but will provide the cold shelter it needs. When snow comes place a few small snowballs on the soil surface. If it warms the snow will melt and moisten the roots. When it's cold the snow will remain until it is needed and will keep the tree in a dormant state.

If you have such a space but it does not have a window for light is will probably be OK. When dormant the tree does not need the light. It sleeps until the warm weather returns. Then you must provide some light AND also cold (nighttime) protection. Try to prolong the dormancy by keeping the tree extra cold for a couple weeks - using ice packs nearby. Slow down the return to full growth if there is a late frost coming. Or at least bring it back in to protect new growth.

Hope this helps. I'm in a very cold area 5 hours North of you. But yesterday it was 86 degrees. :p
 

jk_lewis

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In 6B, I think any juniper will do fine outdoors. Mine survived single digit temperatures on my benches last year with absolutely no problems.
 

Dav4

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Around the end of November, when night time lows are approaching 20F, place the tree in a protected area out of direct wind and sun. This can be on the north or east side of your home. Having established foundation plantings in that area will provide even more protection. Mulch the pot up to the bottom of the trunk with pine bark mulch or something similar. Water in and you are done. I found that these trees, stored in this way, hardly ever needed more watering until next spring, but you should check anyway.

ps I also stored trees as BonsaiTom describes, in an unnattached garage. It's a slightly more complicated way to house trees, as you do have to supply water (still hardly ever, and in the form of snow), you have the problem of premature dormancy break in mid-late winter due to heat gain in the structure, and finally, rodents, which will debark your trees overnight if they are hungry. Do your research now and figure out what will work best for you and your trees- lots more info on this site- use the search function.
 
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Vance Wood

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Around the end of November, when night time lows are approaching 20F, place the tree in a protected area out of direct wind and sun. This can be on the north or east side of your home. Having established foundation plantings in that area will provide even more protection. Mulch the pot up to the bottom of the trunk with pine bark mulch or something similar. Water in and you are done. I found that these trees, stored in this way, hardly ever needed more watering until next spring, but you should check anyway.

ps I also stored trees as BonsaiTom describes, in an unnattached garage. It's a slightly more complicated way to house trees, as you do have to supply water (still hardly ever, and in the form of snow), you have the problem of premature dormancy break in mid-late winter due to heat gain in the structure, and finally, rodents, which will debark your trees overnight if they are hungry. Do your research now and figure out what will work best for you and your trees- lots more info on this site- use the search function.

I live in Michigan where it is not uncommon to get double digit below zero temperatures. Most Juniper species can handle these conditions with little problem. They will however take on a kind of bronze color. This is normal and nothing to worry about. As mentioned above keep the tree out of direct sun light if possible and mulch the pot more to protect it from blowing over than the freezing of the roots. Believe me in my climate the concept of trying to keep the roots from freezing is like trying to keep the wind from blowing; it simply cannot be done when the frost line is 36" below ground.

Though a shelter is not a really bad idea it does have the draw back of demanding that you check the trees at least twice a week and water them when they get dry, this is something you don't have to worry about with out door placement if you watered well before the cold weather sets in. The exception would be if the winter weather is really dry and the temperatures have risen above 50 degrees long enough to thaw the trees out. As with anything in bonsai there is no magic bullet or method that works for every circumstance all the time except vigilance and personal action.
 

remist17

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ok all thanks. The juniper is a prebonsai in a nursery pot.

I plan on putting them in my new built shed just for the plants. It has shelves and plastic up that will let some filter light in. This will also keep the wind off the plants.

It sounds like It will be ok in there with some snow once it flies. I think once it gets below 30 I will put the junipers and trees in the building with mulch.
 

Dav4

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It sounds like It will be ok in there with some snow once it flies. I think once it gets below 30 I will put the junipers and trees in the building with mulch.

Temperate trees need the early frosts and freezes of autumn to ready themselves for the deeper, prolonged cold that will certainly come in winter. Preventing exposure to sub freezing temperatures will make the tree less cold hardy when it really needs it. Leave them out in the elements until the night time lows are at or below 20f consistently, then provide protection. Also, that plastic sheeting will capture heat escaping from your house and any sun that falls on it, perhaps keeping the shelving area too warm for a consistent dormancy. Personally, I'd lose the plastic, place the trees along the house foundation and mulch in, maybe use burlap as a wind screenif needed...Keep It Simple...:)
 

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