"Pipe wrap" bubble film to keep trees insulated in their pots?

Bonsai Noodles

Yamadori
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I've heard some people use bubble wrap to insulate bonsai pots for the winter.

Has anyone used this "pipe wrap" bubble film? It looks like it might do better than plain-old bubble wrap... Or not. What are your guys' thoughts?

Being in Minnesota, I wanted to make sure my trees were extra-protected from the cold (this is in addition to overwintering them in an unheated garage).
 

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LittleDingus

Shohin
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Without an heat source, insulating a pot doesn't change the final temperature of its substrate. As written above one of the easiest to use heat source, is the ground and any insulation must be above the pots.

Agreed! The purpose of insulation is to prevent the movement of heat. Most insulators are not 100% efficient. Without a continual source of new heat, the temperature outside and inside an insulator will equalize.

The ground is a continual source of new heat in the winter (and a continual source of new "cool" in the summer). If you use insulation on your trees it needs to be between the air and the tree and not between the ground and the tree. And be careful of creating a mold haven!
 

Forsoothe!

Masterpiece
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Tree leaves are better. You get some insulation of the pot from the air temperatures, some leaching of elements from the leaves to the pot, and you don't have to store the leaves over summer. Oak leaves are best, if you can get them, because they take forever to break down, but they all work. Mulch up to the bottom branch and it will settle down to cover the rim of the pot. Also, fiberglass insulation will stay soggy if it gets wet and there goes all your air pockets that provide insulation's resistance to temperature changes. The oak leaves are the last to fall in autumn, so watch the sky in suburbia and you'll see oaks still with leaves after the rest go bare. Go to those curbs on trash day in the weeks following and they will have packaged up a bags of oak leaves, just for you!
 

sorce

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In the first years, when you can't stop fiddling with them, it feels like they need "protection", because they do.

It's the fiddling that kills them, never the winter.

Once you get into a thing where you know when to leave them alone to start preparing themselves for winter, they do it fine.

They have been forever. It's what they do.

Less worry, more bury.

Sorce
 

Bonsai Noodles

Yamadori
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Duly noted all! I was looking at this only because someone else in the family was reluctant to have leaves in the garage... but we shall work something out now.my landscape trees have had good ole’ lawn leaves for the past few years.
 

Forsoothe!

Masterpiece
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No leaves in the garage. That's for outdoors. How cold does the garage get?
 

Bonsai Noodles

Yamadori
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No leaves in the garage. That's for outdoors. How cold does the garage get?

Haven't actually tried it out in the winter, but I have noticed it tends to be somewhere half-way between indoor/outdoor temperatures. Lowest it gets in MN is -20 F here, so I predict the garage might get as low as +20 F in the garage. I hear that's fine? I'm definitely going to monitor with a high/low thermometer.
 

JudyB

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Are all your trees in pots hardy to one zone lower than your location? If so then they will be fine outside. If not then you'll need to try the less hardy ones in the garage. Temp swings in a garage that gets too warm will likely be an issue, but don't worry about light, dormant trees need no light. You just don't want them waking up early. If the garage doesn't stay warm enough you can get a heat mat and thermostat to set the pots on. If this is something you'd like more info on LMK, I use them in my setup.
 

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