Need Advice on How to Overwinter my Monkey Puzzle Tree

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by IslandMan007, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. IslandMan007

    IslandMan007 Member

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    Germantown, Maryland, USA

    I need some advice on how to overwinter a 2 year old (approx 2 feet tall) Monkey Puzzle Tree in the state of Maryland (Hardiness Zone 7a/7b). For the first 2 years I kept the tree in a pot and would bring it into my greenhouse in the winter. This spring, I planted it in a wooded part of my yard surround by some trees and bushes for protection. I've seen a 20 foot tall (15 year old) Monkey Puzzle tree growing in my area about 10 miles from my house so I would like to grow mine outside also. Can anyone provide any advise on how I should protect the tree to handle the winters in Maryland? The average coldest temperature is about 15 to 20 degrees F in my area but it usually stays in the 30s most of the winter (January - February are the coldest months). Is there any kind of burlap protection and straw I should put around the tree to make sure it survives the winter? Any mulching I should do to protect the tree? I really would hate to lose this tree over the winter but I think it will do much better if it can grow out of the pot. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    While still that small could be covered with a frame that is then furnished with insulating material, if not actual insulation like might be used for structures then something else that has similar effects - even the boughs of other conifers. Needs to be big enough to cover entire top of plant without touching it anywhere. You don't want the covering to freeze onto the tree.
  3. bamboofish

    bamboofish Active Member

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    Ottawa, Ontario,Canada
    Hi Hans,

    Your M. puzzle should be fine in your zone without any protection. If you want, it wouldn't hurt to cover it for the first couple of winters. The winter blanket I mentioned is a polyester (lasts forever) fleece that is sold in nurseries and home stoers to cover shrubs in winter. It can actually add a zone when used, especially wind damage.
    Being polyester it also sheds water. It's the same fabric used as liner under the rubber pond liners, except it should be a light color not dark. Here in Ottawa(zone5) we use it to bloom zone 6 rhodos & cornus and such.
    You might also consider moving your M. puzzle to more sun, you mentioned it is shaded. I find many things are hardier in full sun. People here put japanese maples in the shade because they think shade is for delicate plants, but it often hinders their hardiness, since the plant often goes dormant too late and suffers frost damage.
    All the m. puzzles I've seen are full sun and get quite large, 20-25 feet. They can grow them north of you on our east coast, Nova Scotia (zone6-7) with little or no damage.
    Look for the new Austrailian Wollemi pine, a relative of M. puzzles, but nicer foliage and same hardiness (z7). I have one here as a houseplant. National Geographic is distributing them I believe.

    good luck,

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