Should I just put potted young maples in the garage now?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by MapleZen, Dec 19, 2021.

  1. MapleZen

    MapleZen Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm in zone 7b and have a dozen maples in 3 gallon pots in my backyard -- ukigumo, manyo no sato, amagi shigure, Hubb's willow, Autumn sunset, and a bunch of red dragons. All are currently bare and relatively slender/delicate, having all just been placed in those pots in the fall.

    Is there any downside to bringing them into my garage now for the winter? Some have argued that they still benefit from a bit of water and natural sunlight, even mostly dormant at the start of winter. Others have told me to just stick them in the garage now and leave them there until March.

    The winter lows here rarely get below 1o degrees F (-12C) and are usually in the 15-20 range (-9 to -6C).

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning, I would not risk a -12°C and tbh anything lower than -4 and I bring my pots inside. Also as you re potted only a couple of months ago, I would definitely be giving them some Winter protection. Yes they do need a little drink over these few months but very little. So to answer your question for your area, I would say yes put them in your garage.

    D
     
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  3. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I would agree with @Acerholic, -12C is too low for potted LM's, -10C is what I consider the lower limit (for pots). Just make sure the garage is unheated.

    One grower who used to post on here managed moisture delivery in the garage or shed by putting fresh snow on the pots - when the temperature goes back above freezing it melts and gives them a little drink.
     
  4. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    In zone 8-9, like most places in France and Britain, temperatures seldom stay that cold for days.

    Incidently, I've just posted that on a bonsai forum :

    "Here, zone 8b/9a, we don't have many nights with temperatures below zero (32 F). The worst we had last year was -9°C (15.8 F) and the upper soil stayed frozen for about a week. Otherwise, it's a couple of night in a row between 0 and -4 at most. (or worst)
    For several years, I've used a patch in my backgarden : I dug about 15 cm (6 inches), put a liner on the soil, then cover my more fragile bonsai with Zelkova leaves. It's been enough for them to pass the winter without any damage.
    "

    hivernage_211220a.jpg hivernage_211220b.jpg

    I have others that spend the whole winter outside with no protection at all. Last year we had between -9°C and -6°C for about a week, and a couple of periods with night about -5°C/--3°C, and even those in very small pots (7 cm, what I call "tomato pots") passed the winter unharmed.

    Shall I have to "avaler mon chapeau"(1) or even "m'en mordre les doigts"(2) next spring ?...

    Can't find - or remember the correct expression :
    (1) to admit you've been wrong, to make amends.
    (2) to bitterly regret.
     
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  5. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, that is my experience also. I am quite lucky in that the lowest temperatures encountered locally seem to be -10C in extreme winters and most literature (iirc) says this is the lower limit safe temperature for Acer palmatum roots in containers, so I have never had to take special precautions. I remember one year we had a very harsh winter with many consecutive -8C to -10C nights in a row and everything stayed frozen for weeks - all the maples were fine in the spring with no extra protection.

    I do like your bonsai pit btw.

    I am trying Acer pentaphyllum in the greenhouse (unheated and no direct sun in winter) this year as I find this is marginal here in pots. Hopefully it will put out leaves before June in 2022!
     
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  6. LoverOfMaples

    LoverOfMaples Generous Contributor Maple Society

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    @MapleZen, I get most (99%) of my trees from a different growing zone. So the first few years I treat them like babies (the unheat garage) for the first couple years, until they adjust to my climate. That way you won't be disappointed by losing any weak maples :(

    I'm fortunate to have a few unheat greenhouses to pack most of my small/med size plants in to overwinter. But my some medium and large potted trees get buried with very fine chopped leaves (ready for composting in the spring) or in ground, something like @AlainK.
     

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  7. MapleZen

    MapleZen Member

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    Thanks, I'll probably keep an eye on the forecast and put them in the garage if night lows are going into the low 20s F.

    Incidentally, doesn't it stress the tree to have leaves/mulch packed that close and high up the trunk?
     
  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    That sounds like a good plan.

    D
     
  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I'll be interested to hear D @LoverOfMaples thoughts on that also.

    D
     
  10. LoverOfMaples

    LoverOfMaples Generous Contributor Maple Society

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    Stress? I doubt it. @MapleZen, think of it as insulation. You have to remember the trees are dormant. Im trying to prevent any stress by trying to keep the roots out the harsh winter conditions. Once it snow, they will definitely be insulated.

    The nurseries around here put their trees in the ground then cover them with wood chips.
     
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  11. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Interesting to hear D. Not cold enough here to warrant doing that, but a lot of members will take notice of that tip.

    D
     
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  12. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    You wouldn't want anything wet or soggy up against the stems. I guess the people who use this technique make sure the material they use is dry to start with and able to drain freely.
     
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  13. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Rising Contributor

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    Wet or soggy isn't really the issue IMO. It is aeration. Oxygen is still needed for living cells to stay alive. The stuff one uses to insulate must drain freely (i.e., have significant air filled porosity). It matters not what its state was when applied.
    I (and many other enthusiasts), for example, put "wet/soggy" sphagnum moss (covered in polyethylene) against stems on my trees "all the time" and it remains in place for months producing no ill effects, even when quite "soggy", because it still has air-filled porosity (and poly transmits O2).
     
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  14. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Slightly poor choice of words on my part. Thanks for the better explanation. What I was thinking of were materials that have a good structure when dry but become floppy when wet making it easy for them to be compacted when handled leading to potentially anaerobic conditions. For example, a full bag of dried leaves is mostly air but if you take those leaves out, soak them in a tub for 24 hours and put them back in the bag, there will now only be a small layer of leaves at the bottom with very little air spaces. Some of the materials people might like to use for this technique would be better handled dry, others (like woodchip) wouldn't matter either way.
     
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  15. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    We have had a very cold two weeks, have not seen this sustained cold for several years out here in Chilliwack. Coldest day was -18C and with the windchill it made it -27C.
    All of our container grown maples are outside in the elements, all doing fine. All are in larger cement or cedar boxes.
    In our green house which is unheated, all of our smaller container JM's, including 4" potted root stock and young grafts from this summer are all doing fine. They are all frozen solid and will survive as they have every year.
    The 4" pots are all topped with approx 3" of bark mulch and grouped together as we do with them every fall.
    Any young potted trees that we have outdoors are moved closer to the house and kept on the south side to protect from the northeast driving outflow winds.

    We make a point of watering the containers lightly once every 2-3 weeks when the soil is not frozen ( in the greenhouse) just to prevent any drying out of the roots.
     
  16. Karl Villareal

    Karl Villareal Member

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    Hello,

    I live in zone 8b, but our winters here are very wet; otherwise it never goes lower than -5degC. Currently my maples (mostly 1 gallon to 2 gallon size, with pinkie-size trunks) are in a greenhouse, but from reading above I thought perhaps I could just put them outside. My only fear is the wet situation as it rains a lot (oh Belgium!). Is it better I keep it in the green house, or will it benefit from acclimatization outside among the elements?
     
  17. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    The winter wet won't be a problem as long as the containers and potting medium are free draining. (We have the same wet here in the UK and mine have no problems outside.)

    The only thing I worry about is changing the conditions part way through the winter and this depends on how much warmer the greenhouse is than the outside - if there is a big difference and then we get a hard frost it might catch the plants unprepared. If you wait for a settled spell of mild weather before taking them out of the greenhouse it should be okay though.
     
  18. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I agree with M @maf, any sudden changes in a trees environment can cause a lot of troubles. This is one reason I always want to know where a new maple I have purchased came from. So important to replicate as best you can.
    So as has already been stated, the importance of drainage in your potting compost is essential for healthy strong roots. Waterlogging causes more problems than anything else in the maple world.

    D
     
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  19. Karl Villareal

    Karl Villareal Member

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    ok Thank you maf and Acerholic! well appreciated
     
  20. MapleZen

    MapleZen Member

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    Just to follow-up on this, put all the container maples in the garage. Good timing too, as we've had multiple days of -10c over the last two weeks. As for watering, the advice is somewhat vague ("a little", "not much", etc.) I know it's hard to quantify watering amounts, but assuming a little sprinkle in each pot -- once a week, once a month, once every 3 months?
     
  21. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    My pentaphyllums have been in the greenhouse since November and I have watered them once. TBH I don't even think they needed it then, I did it just in case and because I was in there watering some green plants that did need water. The trees have no leaves to transpire water and evaporation from the soil surface will be very low due to the cold temperature. I normally only water if the soil surface starts to look and feel dry, or the pots start to feel too light in weight.
     
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  22. Riverdale27

    Riverdale27 Active Member

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    I keep my small pots (P9 or 3 liter) in the greenhouse. My big pots remain outside.

    The important thing to control as best as possible is large fluctuations in temperature. Should not be -10 °C at night but +20 °C during the day.
    In the greenhouse that means: closed at night, fully open during the day, and shaded as much as possible.
    Outside, it means you need to be aware of how your pots warm up during the day, but normally larger trees should be fine in pots outside, always, up to zone 7. They say plants in pot lose 2 zones of hardiness.
    I put them under a roof as much as possible, so that they're not too wet. We had a very wet year so...

    Last winter we had a few -10 °C during the night and I put my big dissectum in pot near the house, in the shade, with bubble wrap around the pot. It was fine. This year I have about 200 plants in pots so can't do that anymore, so I keep them outside. Guess when a - 10° C comes along I just have to cross my fingers.
     
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