Overwintering Bonsai Tips?

SilentMouse

Seedling
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So, this will be my first winter with trees that are gonna be outside, and I'm getting my thoughts together on how I'm gonna go about it. Thought it would be a good idea to get any tips- I'm a zone 5b, so any particular thoughts on what to do/expect would be awesome. Though any wisdom would be great!

As of now, my game plan is once the deciduous trees all lose their leaves or our first real snow (whichever comes last) I'll be putting them in my unheated shed. Nothing I have is not native or known to do extremely well in my area as far as winters go, so just the shed should be fine. I'll be checking them once a week, and watering probably every two or weeks or so, depending on how dry or wet they look. In the spring once I notice they are taking more water or have swelling buds they'll come back out in the spring.

Oh, and also, I plan to apply dormant oil before they go in too. This year was a huge problem for me with aphids, and I got rid of them but never again.

Anyways, that's just what I plan to do as of now. There really is no fall work I need to do on any of my trees like wiring as all my trees aren't at that stage yet.

Any thoughts? Tips or tricks? I'd love to hear them!
 
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I’m in 5a... but if I was to drive 7 miles(ish) WEST... I’d be in zone 5b.. 🤓

This year I will be paying close attention to RootkillTemps using diagrams such as this.. (not entirely OUR area, but just for example)

One it approaches an overnight dew point of 33F My more tender species (that don’t winter inside with no dormancy) will go into an unheated basement below a large, poorly insulated storefront.
The ones that will brave the elements will be in a corner facing SW, with their “bottoms” buried in dirt/styrofoam.
 

Paradox

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So, this will be my first winter with trees that are gonna be outside, and I'm getting my thoughts together on how I'm gonna go about it. Thought it would be a good idea to get any tips- I'm a zone 5b, so any particular thoughts on what to do/expect would be awesome. Though any wisdom would be great!

As of now, my game plan is once the deciduous trees all lose their leaves or our first real snow (whichever comes last) I'll be putting them in my unheated shed. Nothing I have is not native or known to do extremely well in my area as far as winters go, so just the shed should be fine. I'll be checking them once a week, and watering probably every two or weeks or so, depending on how dry or wet they look. In the spring once I notice they are taking more water or have swelling buds they'll come back out in the spring.

Oh, and also, I plan to apply dormant oil before they go in too. This year was a huge problem for me with aphids, and I got rid of them but never again.

Anyways, that's just what I plan to do as of now. There really is no fall work I need to do on any of my trees like wiring as all my trees aren't at that stage yet.

Any thoughts? Tips or tricks? I'd love to hear them!

Sounds like a solid plan. Just make sure you dont forget to check them for water needs. They can die from not enough water in a shed during winter.
 

Forsoothe!

Masterpiece
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Any that will take winter outdoors is a whole lot easier to handle. Just set them on the ground in full sun and mulch with leaves after the mice establish winter burows, ~November 1st or so. They don't have to be watered or tended except they are subject to branches broken by clumps of ice and bark eating above the snowline by animals. Leave a dish of mouse treats out in any building. Indoors they will bud out earlier than the weather outside permits overnight parking so you'll be practicing the bonsai two-step in spring and re-introducing them to direct sun a little at a time.
 
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I heel my trees into 4" of spread compost in my garden and cover them with a tarp in a tent fashion to keep winds off them. They do well this way. The compost keeps the area around them moist so they rarely ever need water.
 

Paradox

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I use a cold frame that I built against the north side of my house and I put some in the garage.
Either way works fine but I prefer the coldframe for most things. The ones that arent as cold tolerant go in the cold frame.
Then the tropicals go in the basement under lights
 

leatherback

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5b is very different from 7. Keep this in mind.

I get away with pretty much 90% of my trees just putting them out of the wind and sun on the ground. And I wait till spring. Only pomegranate, oive, tridents and my tropicals get a more dlecate treatment. But pine, juniper, japanese maple, elms, larch, beech, hornbeam, azalea, Yew, .. These just get sahde & windshelter. In your circumstances you might need more protection.
 

sorce

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Just leave them (protected from voles if necessary) on the ground with one side wind blocked.

They will be fine.

Like this, a six foot drift is your friend, and the mice will be fed comfortably in the shed.

In the shed, a six foot drift is your enemy, and the mice are still fed comfortably in the shed!

Dormant Oil won't do anything to help with aphids. It has more potential to "clog your trees' pores".

Sorce
 

Paradox

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Dormant Oil is fine to use to help stave off things like scale and fungus (depending on which oil).

It DOES NOT clog the pores of the needles (deciduous will have lost thier leaves at this point).
I have used it every year when I put my trees away, no ill effects.
 
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