Should I introduce my chinese elm to cold weather?

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Hi guys! i’m sorry if this topic has been covered a lot already but i need some very specific advice regarding my chinese elm. im in NJ zone 7A, and had them outside all summer. toward the end of summer i brought them inside and they have been in front of my window since. i’ve decided i want to give my CE’s dormancy for a better grow season next year, but i’m unsure how to proceed. currently my house thermostat sits around 75°F and currently it is 42°F outside. how best should i approach giving them dormancy for the winter? i don’t want to shock them by just putting them out in the cold, but i also don’t want them to just stay inside all winter.

i’m considering putting them in my attached, but unheated garage to experience some leaf drop and potential dormancy, but again the temperature difference is a big concern to me. how long would be best for me to keep them in my garage for? lighting in my garage is very slim. i have two windows but not much sun enters through them. what would you guys do in my situation? i would much rather my CE’s go dormant because they definitely would lack proper growth in the growing season if i don’t subject them to some sleepy time lol. thanks in advance!
 

BrianBay9

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Chinese elms should do fine in your winter. They will go dormant, or not, depending on the conditions you provide. An unheated garage will work, with or without much light. Just make sure to check soil moisture now and then. Even dormant, you shouldn't let them go bone dry.
 

sorce

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I wouldn't put em out this year, unless prepared to restyle them from the trunk alone.

Welcome to Crazy!

It's way beyond enough time to safely go dormant now. They would've needed the last month or more to start building protection.

I believe this would be called, dormancy induced by death.

Sorce
 

ShadyStump

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Are you getting any hard freezes at night yet?

What's the coldest room in the house? I'd start with that for a few days, then move them to the warmest spot outside during the day, then bring them in, back to the coldest spot in the house over night, and do that for a week or so. Should help harden them off before going out for the winter.
That's allot of the bonsai two step for couple weeks, but will give your trees a transition to the cold.

I wouldn't move them straight to the garage and leave them there. You won't be able to tell if the leaves are changing color from going dormant or from lack of sun and sudden cold and they're just dying on you. Garage would be the last step to me.
 

rockm

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Hi guys! i’m sorry if this topic has been covered a lot already but i need some very specific advice regarding my chinese elm. im in NJ zone 7A, and had them outside all summer. toward the end of summer i brought them inside and they have been in front of my window since. i’ve decided i want to give my CE’s dormancy for a better grow season next year, but i’m unsure how to proceed. currently my house thermostat sits around 75°F and currently it is 42°F outside. how best should i approach giving them dormancy for the winter? i don’t want to shock them by just putting them out in the cold, but i also don’t want them to just stay inside all winter.

i’m considering putting them in my attached, but unheated garage to experience some leaf drop and potential dormancy, but again the temperature difference is a big concern to me. how long would be best for me to keep them in my garage for? lighting in my garage is very slim. i have two windows but not much sun enters through them. what would you guys do in my situation? i would much rather my CE’s go dormant because they definitely would lack proper growth in the growing season if i don’t subject them to some sleepy time lol. thanks in advance!
The trees should have been outside all the time, particularly as summer ends. The shortening day length combined with lowering temps "tell" the tree to begin preparing for winter dormancy. That process begins at the Summer Solstice, as the days begin to get shorter. I allow all my deciduous trees to get hit with a few frosts and shallow freezes before putting them under mulch inthe backyard for the winter. Those frosts and shallow freezes (between 26-32 F) helps harden them off for deeper cold in the coming winter.

Inside does not give them a jump on growing season, as much as it will weaken them. Put them in the garage. Allow them to be exposed to cold there. The interior of the garage will blunt the worst of the cold. Don't worry about the temp unless it gets below 25. I wouldn't futz around with trying to "acclimate" them to the cold. Just do it. Won't make much difference at this point. Keep the soil moist (not soggy and certainly don't let them dry out-dry soil makes them more vulnerable to freezes as water insulates the roots a bit)..

The elm is well capable of withstanding your winter. I am in the same zone. I leave my Chinese Elms out all year long--in the winter I mulch the pot on the ground with shredded pine mulch.

and BTW, the aim of winter storage is NOT to keep them "warm." It is to keep them as cold as possible for as long as possible (come early spring to avoid early bud break). Coddling them by bringing them inside is a comfort only to you not your trees. Coddling is one of the biggest issues for beginners. Too much care is just as bad as too little.
 

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