Winter Storage Guidance - Newbie Help

jindog

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Greetings from Chicago!

I am in the process of preparing my collection for the winter and implementing a plan to store my trees (junipers, JBP, Red Pine, Ponderosa Pine). I live In a multifamily building that has a balcony and I am planning on building a small 4x3 hoop house and was curious to know if anyone has done this on a balcony and would care to share any tips, tricks, and recommended materials to use? or if this is even the best route to take in my position. I am trying to find a suitable tarp covering but get quickly overwhelmed with all the options. Is there a way that I can construct this without having to have a small space heater in the structure? I ask this incase that I can't have one on the balcony due to building management (I am still waiting to hear back on this). Any guidance on this is greatly appreciated!

Thanks and have a great day!
 

butlern

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Newbie as in you have undeveloped nursery stock and you didn’t invest too much money?If so, run the experiment…. If you did invest in trees, call Jeff at Hidden Gardens in willowbrook… he overwinters trees for people. They will be well looked after there.

your hoop house sounds not so good. Space heater will dry the inside environment, so not a good choice, even if management allows it. Better might be propagation mats with thermostats to regulate pot temps (keep from getting less than 20F). Maybe management will allow that?

here’s my hoop house…. I use rediheat mats and cheap thermostats from Amazon…

the air is as cold as ambient outside, but the pot temps are regulated… works great
 

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Deep Sea Diver

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Welcome Aboard!

Pretty much any decent cold frame design that allows for access for watering/health checks and ventilation ought to work.

Personally I doubt you’ll need a heat mat with those trees with a cold frame (depending on the balcony exposure). You could also create an outer base frame with drainage so it could be filled up with bark nuggets to pack under and around the pots.

But if it would give you peace of mind go for for the mats.

I have a bunch of these thermostats. They work, are reasonable, have stood the test of time and should do the job.

Inkbird ITC-306T Pre-Wired... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01486LZ50?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

…and these Heat mats. They can daisy chain. There are plenty others that are as good or better. Be sure to put some plywood and or something like foam sheets under the mats to minimize bottom heat loss.

I really like the idea @butlern gave about calling Hidden Gardens though. There are plenty others onboard BN from your area. I’m sure some will chime in.

Cheers
DSD sends
 

JudyB

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Yep, heat mats on thermostats are a great start. I also use a infrared heater for air temps but I have an actual building for winter housing, I find having a rotating fan on the same circuit that come on when the heater does keeps the air moving and consistent throughout the area. I also employ a humidifier that keeps the humidity at whatever percentage I choose. If you are going to do a heater, I believe a humidifier is key.
 

Deep Sea Diver

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…and here are the heat mats I’ve used the past two winters.

Hydrofarm 19007 Hydroponic 12 x 48" 60 Watt Seed Start Seedling Propagation Heat Mat ... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G1PL2RP/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_apip_a16iSkZLpx6C2

If you want really awesome ones @JudyB has a couple posted in her cold greenhouse thread.

Best
DSD sends
 

butlern

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Jindog, if you scroll through Judy’s brilliant thread, you’ll see @EricMack has a setup just like what you’re describing… balcony, tent, etc… and he used the heat mat. Maybe he will chime in here with his experiences!
 

JudyB

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Jindog, if you scroll through Judy’s brilliant thread, you’ll see @EricMack has a setup just like what you’re describing… balcony, tent, etc… and he used the heat mat. Maybe he will chime in here with his experiences!
LOL, that's cause @EricMack is someone I've been teaching as he's kinda local to me... ;)
 

butlern

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Ha! Yes, I gathered that from his previous posts about trees and wintering.

Hopefully he'll have a report so he can provide @jindog with some pointers.
 

jindog

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Wow! Thank you all for the feedback. Some of you have asked how thick the balcony is and I would have to say that it is about 1-1.5ft. thick. The balcony faces south and gets sun from sunrise to about 3-4pm. Im thinking that I will build the hoop house with 10in wide boards for my boarders so that I have some depth to place the pots in. Ill line the bottom with 1" pink panther insulation and then do rubber mulch with the heat mat somewhere in the sandwich of things. Any suggestions on the tarp for the structure?

Thank you all for the help. I really appreciate it! Its quite overwhelming when I have only been in the hobby for about a year now....but Im on the right track with 14 trees hahaha!
 

sorce

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Do you have an outlet out there?

Do you know where the trees have been wintered previously?

I imagine you could get away with merely lining them up along the building, JBP closest, red Pine, with the junipers around the outside.

I wouldn't do anything else.....but a bottom pad to stay about 30F could help.

Covering them is not recommended at all, Ceptin fer with snow.

Tarped over, you can get enough snow cover to lose access to them, they'll dry out, and the snow load will break branches.

Same snow coulda kept em watered and insulated.

I put way more value on not cutting late, and allowing them to go dormant without confusion, than winter protection.
Health prevents the need for protection.

Sorce
 

jindog

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Do you have an outlet out there? -Yes

Do you know where the trees have been wintered previously? - Yes. At a local shop that I got them at. I figured that I would try to winter them this year.

I imagine you could get away with merely lining them up along the building, JBP closest, red Pine, with the junipers around the outside.

I wouldn't do anything else.....but a bottom pad to stay about 30F could help.

Covering them is not recommended at all, Ceptin fer with snow.

Tarped over, you can get enough snow cover to lose access to them, they'll dry out, and the snow load will break branches.

Same snow coulda kept em watered and insulated.

I put way more value on not cutting late, and allowing them to go dormant without confusion, than winter protection.
Health prevents the need for protection.

Sorce
 

sorce

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What kinda environment at that shop?

I would match it.....or not!

Pics!

Sorce
 

Tieball

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Hmmmm….my thoughts. You listed all junipers and pine type trees. They live outdoors. They will acclimate to the weather conditions. I’d only try to block the wind some, but leave the top open. You're on the south side. Winds, the coldest, should come from the north and somewhat from the west. Your trees are already protected from the winds. I think you are over-caring. I’d simply wrap the containers, whatever they are, in burlap or something like that to buffer the strongest Arctic winds. The trees need the winter dormancy time….outdoors.
 

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