Young dawn redwoods winter protocol?

power270lb

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My dawn redwoods (8 in total) were planted around April and are now 18-24" tall. Have in a mostly inorganic mix of Diatomaceous earth, Pumice, lava rock and pine bark. I'm going to leave outside but was wondering if the mix they're in is prone to root freeze or not the best mix for winter. I could hypothetically put in a box and cover the containers with soil then take other steps to protect them but was wondering what other people's experiences are. Also a pruning/growth question. Goal is to get the trunks nice and fat, should I let grow and not touch or would pruning this late so anything. I'm in Jersey City, NJ so winters do get cold but rarely does it stay below 20. This was them 6 weeks ago.
 

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Forsoothe!

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Set them on the ground in full sun and mulch the pots with leaves a couple inches higher than the edges of the pots. You can set the pots on the ground anytime after Nov 1st, after the mice have found wintering quarters. Do not mulch until after a frost or a freeze. If mulched too early, the mice will take up residence under the pots and munch on your bark when they need a snack.
 

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Set them on the ground in full sun and mulch the pots with leaves a couple inches higher than the edges of the pots. You can set the pots on the ground anytime after Nov 1st, after the mice have found wintering quarters. Do not mulch until after a frost or a freeze. If mulched too early, the mice will take up residence under the pots and munch on your bark when they need a snack.
Copy that, thanks bro. Roots will be ok in inorganic? They're all on tables elevated does the ground make a difference? When's a good time to re-pot junipers and elms? Also, bought a Trident maple seedling before Summer and she grew roughly 3+ feet. It's also in all inorganic but a 3- gallon pot. Same thing?
 

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Pots in contact with the ground have temperature cycles that much more gradual than the air up on a pedestal. When they are mulched in up over the edge of the pot they stay close to the ground temp while the air temps cycle wildly day to night. Since the ground temp is only influenced at the surface by the air and the ground is not a good conductor, and a layer of mulch is even less of a conductor of temperatures, the ground changes temp very slowly. The sun in the day warms the surface even when the air temp is low. The air has very little mass and the ground has great mass, and that contributes to ability of the ground to stay the temperature it is. The soil 10 feet deep stays about 45°F.
As the ground freezes at the surface it insulates the soil below that from even colder air. Everything under snow stays about 30 to 32°F. The roots of most hardy plants do just fine down to about 20°F, below that fleshy roots are damaged. Stringy or fibrous roots contain less water and can take much lower temps. The wood above ground is only damaged by desiccation caused by drying winds, so some kind of wind break/shield is helpful.
 

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Pots in contact with the ground have temperature cycles that much more gradual than the air up on a pedestal. When they are mulched in up over the edge of the pot they stay close to the ground temp while the air temps cycle wildly day to night. Since the ground temp is only influenced at the surface by the air and the ground is not a good conductor, and a layer of mulch is even less of a conductor of temperatures, the ground changes temp very slowly. The sun in the day warms the surface even when the air temp is low. The air has very little mass and the ground has great mass, and that contributes to ability of the ground to stay the temperature it is. The soil 10 feet deep stays about 45°F.
As the ground freezes at the surface it insulates the soil below that from even colder air. Everything under snow stays about 30 to 32°F. The roots of most hardy plants do just fine down to about 20°F, below that fleshy roots are damaged. Stringy or fibrous roots contain less water and can take much lower temps. The wood above ground is only damaged by desiccation caused by drying winds, so some kind of wind break/shield is helpful.
Sorry about late reply, worst fever/flu I've ever had and totally forgot about this. Thank you for clarifying. Any advice regarding tropicals and the transition to inside? I have enough grow lights and my plants did great indoors before. Right now lows have dropped to 58 but the next ten days lows are 65 at lowest so I'm trying to leave out as long as I can. Also any advice on fertilizer and when to remove/stop? Or does it matter? Could I still fertilize tropicals since they don't go dormant?
 

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We are glad you made it through! I don't fertilize unless the plant is in growth mode. I define that as at least one of the following: buds are swelling, or natural daylight intensity is high and/or photo period increasing. That's early spring to mid-August. Any other time will increase growth, but will have longer internodes which I avoid like the plague. I'm perfectly happy to have plants just coast and rest for some period, That period of preparation will express itself in good growth when the time comes. I speculate that roots are still actively preparing for the next phase of growth even though the top of the plant doesn't show anything happening. I wouldn't offer it as a corollary to human sleep, but we are healthy and happy with 8 to 9 hours, and our bodies are not just doing nothing in that time. I suspect plantsare building or rejuvenating or preparing, too.

There are to my knowledge, no places on Earth that have a growing season that is 365 days long. Even where the climate is mild enough to grow, there is a fluctuation in rain and part of the year is too dry for high growth. So, almost all plants have adapted to a rest period. Plants have a second flush and/or increase in root growth in autumn, again, just like animals porking-up for winter! As a matter of fact I'm thinking right now about having another chocolate covered donut to prepare myself from the coming snows...
 

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Haha nice, all great advice. Safe to re-pot a juniper and Chinese elm? Have several elm cuttings that have grown well since February but also in inorganic soil/smaller containers. Are new cuttings still smaller inside safe outside or would a cold room be better?
 

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I don't like to repot when the trees are this far advanced into the rest period. I have had bad luck at this time of year, -the trees go to sleep and never wake up. Others disagree. I would sink the pots as in post #32.
 

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I don't like to repot when the trees are this far advanced into the rest period. I have had bad luck at this time of year, -the trees go to sleep and never wake up. Others disagree. I would sink the pots as in post #32.
So these are my dawn redwoods from seed currently. Transfered them to this container and used a hot screwdriver to melt a bunch of holes so it can drain. They hatched from seed in April and they're already this big. Last pic shows the roots, I'm still new ( first year doing this) and how far away in your opinion are they from a repot? So far I've had only success repotting/transferring to bigger pots. When in your opinion is the best time to re-pot? When it comes to the roots I'm never sure exactly how much to chop or I see a lot of people completely defoliate. Like I said I'm new and wanted to make it through a year to prove to myself I can grow trees and have them flourish without any issues and so far so good. Pruning, I understand the concept but as far as pruning for growth im still confused. Like now is it a good idea to prune my trees in the hopes they can push out any growth before temps drop? The transition to inside under grow lights is there a right way to do it? Like should I have lights on 18 hours? My main focus is every tree to have the trunks grow nice and fat, what's the best and quickest way to do so? Let grow with no pruning? Heavy pruning? A lot of questions but I appreciate your advice.
 

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power270lb

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Also this is my trident maple I grew from seed, it's grown this much since May. Main goal is to get her nice and fat but she split at the bottom so there's roughly 4" of trunk then it splits into what u see. Main goal is nice and fat so what could I do to expedite that faster? Odds are I'm gonna pony up and buy one that's already 3+ inches, there's a great site that has a ton of them. I haven't touched it at all aside from fertilizer, would u ever prune it or that's way later down the road?
 

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That growth is amazing! The biggest thing I've got growing from seed this year is only about a foot tall. All the Dawn Redwoods I tried never made it except one that popped out for a few weeks before dying. Very nice!
 

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You using the "Q" word. It is almost always counter-productive to to ends of bonsai to grow quick or big. What are you willing to forego? Taper? Clean trunks without big scars? Ramification? Compact root system? If none of those are important then you can go out and buy landscaping stock right now and not need to go through the hassle of the next 5 or 10 years. Growers of landscape stock have exactly what you are talking about because there is a commercial price window they have to live with and they need plants as big as possible within that window to meet the competition's price & delivery. They are already better at it than you. If on the other hand if you want as much bonsai as possible ASAP, then there's a pretty standard procedure.

To my way of thinking you want to preserve as much wood as possible instead of grow big, chop, grow big, chop, over and over again. You need to have a goal size for any given species. If your goal is to have a 24" Redwood that has nice nebari, taper, ramification, a compact root system that fits a given pot size & shape, and no big scars on the trunk, then here's one way:

1.) The temperature of the ground doesn't vary as much as the air, and the moisture levels are also more steady. That helps trees handle higher temperatures, and more sun & wind and grow better in the ground than on a bench.

2.) You want to arrive at a finished tree with a potful of tiny, hairy feeder roots and not a pot full of heavy anchor roots with the feeder roots out at the ends and need to go through a growing period of a couple years to get the root system into the finished pot of your choice. After each root-pruning, growth in the ground increases every year the tree is in the ground. The first year is a recovery year and the pot will fill with fine roots, the second year grows twice as much and the third year more than the second year, too much more in that third summer. The first year will fill a pot with nice roots. In the second year some roots will escape through the drain holes and there will be more heavy anchor roots in the pot at the expense of tiny feeder roots, and there will be lots of feeder roots at the ends of the anchor roots that escaped through the drain holes. By the end of the third year there will be nothing but heavy anchor roots in the pot and all the useful feeder roots will be outside the pot. So, you repot in spring, grow for two summers, and repot every second spring to get the benefit of as much controlled growth and as few of the disadvantages of heavy growth. Without a pot the roots grow in all directions, but straight out beyond useful limits.

3.) The nature of trees is to reach the top of the forest canopy ASAP. So, straight trunks without any lower branches is the norm. To overcome apical dominance you need to short-cut the process on a continuous basis. To obtain taper we need to have branches growing close to the bottom and with each ascending branch having less foliage than the branch below it. That is the opposite way that trees grow which is why they have straight bare trunks in a forest. By themselves in the middle of a meadow the same tree will have long heavy branches near the ground and have a more pyramidal profile. You will need enough surrounding room to be able to kneel or otherwise get down to ground level a couple times a year for shape pruning and for room for the lower branches to grow without interference.

Pinching supposedly slows growth, I think that's debatable. It doesn't matter one way or the other because what you can accomplish with it is more important. When you pinch a terminal bud, growth occurs somewhere else. When you keep the foliage on the upper third of the tree reduced, the growth will be diverted to the lower parts of the tree. See post #6. You will want to keep as many lower branches as possible until they are more than 1/2" in diameter to maintain a place for growth to occur in response to your pinching and pruning the upper tree. Cutting them off at 1/2" or less will keep the scars to a minimum. It will take more than just pinching to accomplish keeping the top small enough to be in proportion. You will also need to remove whole branches near the top. That will be easy enough because that's where a lot of new buds will grow on the trunk. You can do some of that during the summer, but most will be done in autumn when you shorten the tree by (approximately) the expected next year's growth,keeping in mind that you will control the growth and not let the top get too tall, or heavy with foliage. The branches on the middle 1/3 of the trunk are treated the same as the upper third except they can be allowed to grow bigger (than at the top) before being removed, when and if you have a replacement already in-process near the branch you are removing. You want to arrive at the finished tree with branches that are largest at the lowest level and are gradually shorter and thinner as they ascend the trunk. You can slow down or increase the growth rate of a given branch by pinching more or pinching less as time passes. During this whole process you will not prune the tree to look good, you only prune to manage balanced growth. Towards the end of the process that reverses.

This procedure will have you throwing away grams of tips, twigs and small branches and over time growing 10 lbs of wood and keeping 8 lbs. The chop and grow method will have you growing 25 lbs and throwing away 17 lbs and accruing a lot of big scars.

The nebari will be just like any other tree that can grow straight down into friendly soil, so like a telephone pole. To make the roots turn and grow sideways you need to have something like a tile or board under the crown of the tree, and eliminate the tap root early in the process. So initially, the pot needs to be deeper by the thickness of the board or tile. After the roots are established growing sideways you can switch to the finished size pot.

I've probably forgotten some things, but I'll add them when you or I get to them.
 

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That growth is amazing! The biggest thing I've got growing from seed this year is only about a foot tall. All the Dawn Redwoods I tried never made it except one that popped out for a few weeks before dying. Very nice!
Did you cold stratify the seeds? I did that to all mine for a month and every single one grew. Planted them all together in one big plastic rectangular pot with fox farms ocean soil then transferred each to a new container early June. They were 4" then and exploded all summer. Place I moved to has AMAZING light. Everything I researched said cold stratification was 100% necessary. Seeds and trees evolve over millions of years, cold stratification imitates winter into summer. I also used grow lights to get them to hatch and a seed warmer as well.
 

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You using the "Q" word. It is almost always counter-productive to to ends of bonsai to grow quick or big. What are you willing to forego? Taper? Clean trunks without big scars? Ramification? Compact root system? If none of those are important then you can go out and buy landscaping stock right now and not need to go through the hassle of the next 5 or 10 years. Growers of landscape stock have exactly what you are talking about because there is a commercial price window they have to live with and they need plants as big as possible within that window to meet the competition's price & delivery. They are already better at it than you. If on the other hand if you want as much bonsai as possible ASAP, then there's a pretty standard procedure.

To my way of thinking you want to preserve as much wood as possible instead of grow big, chop, grow big, chop, over and over again. You need to have a goal size for any given species. If your goal is to have a 24" Redwood that has nice nebari, taper, ramification, a compact root system that fits a given pot size & shape, and no big scars on the trunk, then here's one way:

1.) The temperature of the ground doesn't vary as much as the air, and the moisture levels are also more steady. That helps trees handle higher temperatures, and more sun & wind and grow better in the ground than on a bench.

2.) You want to arrive at a finished tree with a potful of tiny, hairy feeder roots and not a pot full of heavy anchor roots with the feeder roots out at the ends and need to go through a growing period of a couple years to get the root system into the finished pot of your choice. After each root-pruning, growth in the ground increases every year the tree is in the ground. The first year is a recovery year and the pot will fill with fine roots, the second year grows twice as much and the third year more than the second year, too much more in that third summer. The first year will fill a pot with nice roots. In the second year some roots will escape through the drain holes and there will be more heavy anchor roots in the pot at the expense of tiny feeder roots, and there will be lots of feeder roots at the ends of the anchor roots that escaped through the drain holes. By the end of the third year there will be nothing but heavy anchor roots in the pot and all the useful feeder roots will be outside the pot. So, you repot in spring, grow for two summers, and repot every second spring to get the benefit of as much controlled growth and as few of the disadvantages of heavy growth. Without a pot the roots grow in all directions, but straight out beyond useful limits.

3.) The nature of trees is to reach the top of the forest canopy ASAP. So, straight trunks without any lower branches is the norm. To overcome apical dominance you need to short-cut the process on a continuous basis. To obtain taper we need to have branches growing close to the bottom and with each ascending branch having less foliage than the branch below it. That is the opposite way that trees grow which is why they have straight bare trunks in a forest. By themselves in the middle of a meadow the same tree will have long heavy branches near the ground and have a more pyramidal profile. You will need enough surrounding room to be able to kneel or otherwise get down to ground level a couple times a year for shape pruning and for room for the lower branches to grow without interference.

Pinching supposedly slows growth, I think that's debatable. It doesn't matter one way or the other because what you can accomplish with it is more important. When you pinch a terminal bud, growth occurs somewhere else. When you keep the foliage on the upper third of the tree reduced, the growth will be diverted to the lower parts of the tree. See post #6. You will want to keep as many lower branches as possible until they are more than 1/2" in diameter to maintain a place for growth to occur in response to your pinching and pruning the upper tree. Cutting them off at 1/2" or less will keep the scars to a minimum. It will take more than just pinching to accomplish keeping the top small enough to be in proportion. You will also need to remove whole branches near the top. That will be easy enough because that's where a lot of new buds will grow on the trunk. You can do some of that during the summer, but most will be done in autumn when you shorten the tree by (approximately) the expected next year's growth,keeping in mind that you will control the growth and not let the top get too tall, or heavy with foliage. The branches on the middle 1/3 of the trunk are treated the same as the upper third except they can be allowed to grow bigger (than at the top) before being removed, when and if you have a replacement already in-process near the branch you are removing. You want to arrive at the finished tree with branches that are largest at the lowest level and are gradually shorter and thinner as they ascend the trunk. You can slow down or increase the growth rate of a given branch by pinching more or pinching less as time passes. During this whole process you will not prune the tree to look good, you only prune to manage balanced growth. Towards the end of the process that reverses.

This procedure will have you throwing away grams of tips, twigs and small branches and over time growing 10 lbs of wood and keeping 8 lbs. The chop and grow method will have you growing 25 lbs and throwing away 17 lbs and accruing a lot of big scars.

The nebari will be just like any other tree that can grow straight down into friendly soil, so like a telephone pole. To make the roots turn and grow sideways you need to have something like a tile or board under the crown of the tree, and eliminate the tap root early in the process. So initially, the pot needs to be deeper by the thickness of the board or tile. After the roots are established growing sideways you can switch to the finished size pot.

I've probably forgotten some things, but I'll add them when you or I get to them.
Omg I completely forgot about this thread, my apologies. Life's been pretty crazy I just started getting my trees inside as temps have dropped.
To answer which I'm willing to forego, none of the above. I don't want big ugly scars, I want taper and ramification and everything else you mentioned on every tree. Slow and steady sounds good.
Can't tell you how much I appreciate this but this might as well be a foreign language to me. I have placed tiles underneath some of my trees but it was early summer so I'm curious how they look. Tbh bonsai wise my trees are a mess lol. I really don't know where to go on a lot of them. The redwoods actually have really nice taper but a lot of my ficus' and omg my Chinese elm....it's just a mess.
I really wish I could get notifications on here because I keep forgetting. Another huge issue now is my trees are so much bigger than before. Fitting them under all my grow lights is going to be a challenge to say the least.
 

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im putting my amberglow redwood in the garage soon...i remeber what @Forsoothe! and others say, not to mulch in or
invite rodents into plantings prior to the freeze. im going to make sure all my trees are elevated that will get some top mulch or moved into the garage soon, or at least ill keep a lookout for mice (already prepped my attic and garage with greenapple candy for rodents...not that we have a lot. a mouse here or there
 

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Just did it, now get notifications. Are there any books or YouTube channels you recommend? A lot of my trees are a lot bigger (Fuller, take up way more space) than I anticipated) I currently have my setup in a bedroom with an east facing window. The light is decent 9-12ish but have 3 good grow lights with mylar curtains. Curious about defoliating/chopping all the way down as you mentioned. What time of year is good for this?
 

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im putting my amberglow redwood in the garage soon...i remeber what @Forsoothe! and others say, not to mulch in or
invite rodents into plantings prior to the freeze. im going to make sure all my trees are elevated that will get some top mulch or moved into the garage soon, or at least ill keep a lookout for mice (already prepped my attic and garage with greenapple candy for rodents...not that we have a lot. a mouse here or there
I remember Forsooth saying the same as well. Currently they're elevated but I'm waiting for the temperature to drop then I'll move to the ground.
 

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I remember Forsooth saying the same as well. Currently they're elevated but I'm waiting for the temperature to drop then I'll move to the ground.
i meant to mention, my redwood is getting cold garage with little light! i didnt think they want or need light in winter. they lose all their leaves
 

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I remember Forsooth saying the same as well. Currently they're elevated but I'm waiting for the temperature to drop then I'll move to the ground.
A better strategy is to set them on the ground, but not in the position they will be finally left at. Roots at air temperature are not as good as roots in contact with the earth which greatly modifies the temperature swings, day to night. I see from the ABS club listing that the 4 people who are into bonsai in NJ live about as far apart as possible and that the closest club to you is in Farmingdale, NY 46 miles from you, crosstown, which probably means a bridge too far.
 

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