Keeping juniper in a pot through the cold Canadian winter

Jessf

Mame
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Alrighty.

I stopped by a nursery and found a nice little juniper (not sure which kind) on sale for $10. I could see a semi cascade style already so I snatched it up.

I have no place to plant it in the ground this season, so I'd like to keep it in a pot. The question is, what should I do come winter? I'm in sourthern ontario where the winters can get pretty bad. Should I leave the juniper outside, outside in the shed, on the ground, should I replant in a larger pot? It's my first juniper so I'm unsure how to handle it.

thanks for the help.
 

Dav4

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Find a place out of the winter wind and sun to overwinter the tree...a shed, garage work fine. You can also place it up against the foundation of your house. Mulch with wood chips over the pot and up to the trunk. If the juniper is hardy to your zone, you should be fine.
 

Jessf

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sounds good. I wasn't sure if they needed sun during the winter months or if they completely shut down. With my deciduous tree, no leaves, no photosynthesis, no problem keening it out of the sun. By doing what you're suggesting, the intent is to keep the pot from completely freezing?
 

tombeur

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I am in Ottawa, Ontario (colder than you) and I have a juniper in a one gallon pot that I just leave on the ground outside out of the wind. The snow here gives it enough protection.

C heers,

Steve
 

Dav4

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sounds good. I wasn't sure if they needed sun during the winter months or if they completely shut down. With my deciduous tree, no leaves, no photosynthesis, no problem keening it out of the sun. By doing what you're suggesting, the intent is to keep the pot from completely freezing?
No, you want the pot to freeze solid and stay that way for the entire winter. The mulch won't keep the soil from freezing, but moderates the degree of cold the root zone is subjected to, which serves to protect the roots from sever cold damage as well as premature bud break come springtime. Once evergreen trees go dormant, their need for light becomes negligable. How much light do you think Steve's juniper is getting below all that snow...not much, I'd say. Also, once the pot freezes, the foliage can no longer transpire, so sun and wind damage are more likely if the tree is in an exposed position.
 

amkhalid

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Hi Jessf,

I am in S Ontario as well, very close to you.

The advice you have received is right on. As long as you are dealing with hardy species, the best bet is to just leave it outside, as Dav4 suggested.

I always opt for the simplest solution. There is less that can go wrong. Bury the pot outside and mulch it in a shady area, cover it with snow asap, and forget about it for the winter. I have been doing this with all of my trees for 7 years. My more valuable trees get some burlap and/or a chicken wire fence to provide extra protection against wind and rabbits.

Garage/shed wintering requires that you check up on it, as it can dry out.

If you absolutely have no space to bury the pot over winter, most junipers could probably do fine just sitting on the ground in a protected area, and mulched up to the trunk. By protected area I mean no direct sun or wind.

Good luck! Have you thought about joining a club? The Guelph club is no more, but there is still the KW Bonsai Club and Bonsai Society at Royal Botanical Gardens... the latter has a juniper workshop coming up this weekend.
 

Jessf

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it's really funny that you mention the Guelph Club. I tried emailing them yesterday but the email no longer worked. I'll look up the KW Clud instead. Thanks for the tip.
 

Otisdog

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wintering junipers

I would just make sure you have protection from any critter that might eat on it, such as rabbits. They killed a couple of my trees that I failed to protect adequately.
 

Bill S

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DAv4 and amkahlid gave you good answers, the way I do it wether I burry them or simply mulch them in is to have the mulch ready and put it around or over the pot after it freezes. Worked for me pretty well. Like someone said check hardiness of the tree against your zone, it may need a bit more protection depending on hardiness, which also depends on wether it is in a little pot or not. Probably no problem burring a nursery can, some cheaper pots will freeze and the water will expand and pop goes the porcelain.

At this point I wouldn't change it from a nursery can to a bonsi pot if that is what your were thinking.
 
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