wintering over a bloodgood

Discussion in 'Maples' started by mylesahead, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. mylesahead

    mylesahead Active Member

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    hi we have a small bloodgood that we bought this past summer its about 3 feet tall and is in a pot,we would like to konw how to winter it over. we live in the northeast us where the temp often goes to about 10-15 degrees at night. we have a shed to put it in if that will help it,or we can put it in our basement,the temp in the basement is between 45-50 degrees, will it confuse the tree to put it there? thanks norm
     
  2. fortyonenorth

    fortyonenorth Member

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    Norm,

    I've only been growing JMs for a few years, but have successfully overwintered numerous trees with no losses. Potted trees will be able to survive temps down to around 17 deg. I leave mine outside until they are completely dormant - after a few good freezes and when day temps are consistently in the 40s or lower. Generally, here in the midwest, that's between now and mid-December. Then I move them to an unheated garage. I put them in low boxes or bins and surround the pots with perlite - which I'll use next spring when I make potting mix. You want to keep them slightly moist--but not wet--during the winter. I'll make sure them are properly watered before I move them in and then, once we get into winter, I'll put some snow in each pot every so often. On the warmer days it will melt and provide just a bit of moisture.

    Last winter, my garage never got below 20 deg. but it was a very mild season. I have a high-low thermometer in the garage so I can monitor temps. It's the type that will record current temp as well as previous highs and lows. Very handy.

    From what you said, your shed might work, provided the plants are well insulated. The basement would be too warm, though it would be ok for a night or two if the temps happened to drop to bone-chilling depths.

    Again, this is just my advice based on my personal experience.
     
  3. 17 Maples

    17 Maples Active Member

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    I would also recommend a nice mulch over the top of the pots if not bury them in the medium of deciduous leaves -oak and pine needles for the acid effect and even evergreen bark if the pots are left outside, this is what I do but I live in the Pacific NW. even in milder climatic zones where I live wind can be a real killer dropping the temps down like a stone in a matter of hours, so this is something else to consider with your winter temps approaching.
     
  4. ndynslvr

    ndynslvr Member

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    Could you tell me a bit more about wind and maples? Are there certain... Parameters I should be aware of?
     
  5. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Norm,

    You live in a great place to grow maples! I was in Scituate this past summer and saw lots of fine ones. That South Shore soil usually is very free draining and has a good pH, too. (Although there's local variation of course.)

    I think your shed will be fine. You could put a little bubble wrap or other insulator around the pot if it gets super cold, but the top won't suffer. If you can get it into the ground in the spring you'll be all set.

    I leave young potted maples inside, mostly to keep them out of the wet. It's probably in the 40-50 range most of the winter (never freezes) and they do well. Your Bloodgood is unlikely to become confused, although you can avoid early leaf out by putting it back outside once the worst cold is over; wet shouldn't be too much of a problem for you.

    On the subject of wind -- ndynslvr, can I buy a vowel? :) -- sun of wind scorch can kill young bark in winter, or at best disfigure it. So it's considered to plant palmatum and similar maples in a sheltered area if possible. However they're surprisingly tough and can get used to all kinds of conditions; it may be harder to get them established though.

    HTH

    -E
     
  6. 17 Maples

    17 Maples Active Member

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    let me add that you will get some die-back and probably summer borer damage that you will have to contend with. I would be suspicious of 50F degree temps and early budding and then dropping down but not sure what February/March conditions are in Florida. might want to watch the trunks for scald and cover up with a green/grey bark wrap, which I usually use on some west facing maples due to bark literally peeling back due to overheat stress until large canopies have formed to protect the trunks from hot afternoons.
     
  7. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Hi Norm,

    All good advice from everybody, it just comes down to what works for you. Let me share what has worked for me for several years, with no losses or trees leafing out too early (well last year one of my bonsai maple landscapes leafed out early, but I did not follow my good practice with it, but everything else in the same location did not leaf out early)

    I use large rectangular plastic bins (one is an old curbside recycle bin, to give you an idea of the size) for anything in a 5-7 gallon pot or smaller. I put something under the pot to raise it up off the bottom (brick, bamboo rods, or a bed of mulch) anything to keep the pot off the bottom to avoid it from sitting in water and it also provides air circulation allowing the roots to breath. Next fill the area around the pot with sphagnum peat moss. Then put a layer of pine bark mulch on the surface of the pot. I water sparingly about twice a month. My goal is to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated and to never allow it to completely dry out. I keep them in my detached garage over winter and early spring. I bring them out into a shaded area once my landscape maples start to leaf out.

    My goals for doing the above technique are:
    -protect the roots from going below a critical temperature (In the Midwest we are sometimes subject to temps well below 0, it’s becoming more rare, but it’s possible)- I use peat as an insulator.
    -protect the roots from temperature swings. Large swings in temperature can be stressful on a tree in the dormant season. Trees out of the ground are very prone to these. –I use peat as an insulator to keep the root temperature more constant and slow down and minimize any sudden increase or decrease in soil temp. My goal is to reduce stress by keeping the roots at a near constant temp and to also keep the soil temp from getting too warm in early spring, reducing the risk of breaking dormancy too early.
    -Allow the roots to breath and protect them from moisture extremes (prevent the soil from drying out or staying too saturated)

    For large potted maples, using the above technique is out of the question. So I make an insulator out of burlap and oak leaves. (I use oak, because they do not absorb water like maple leaves and they are slow to break down. Use a piece of burlap that is long enough to easily wrap around the pot and at least twice the height of the pot. Add oak leaves on top of the burlap and create a burlap tube filled with oak leaves. Stitch it closed with some string threaded through the small holes in the burlap. Wrap the tube around the pot, forming a donut with the pot in the center hole. Stitch the ends together. You now have an insulator around your pot, protecting the pot and your roots. Add a layer of mulch to the surface of the pot.
     
  8. 17 Maples

    17 Maples Active Member

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    JT1

    good advice though must ask in your last segment with oak leaf burial do you find any probs with overwintering insects ? I have in the past so have been using some Sequoia needles off our property which are lovely for damaging those critters....and yet provide some nice acidic nutrients as they break down.

    E ~
     
  9. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Thank you Eric,

    I never had any problems with overwintering insects, so it makes me wonder if it’s a geographic / climate difference or if I am done using the leaves in spring before the insects become active.
     
  10. 17 Maples

    17 Maples Active Member

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    could be the reasons you just gave and the variety of Oak grown in your and my area, ours have the probs with many insect and even disease problems, so I give them usually a light dormant spray in January/February during decomposition plus just as a protective layer over the JM.

    E ~
     
  11. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I think it's important to remember that we garden in a wide range of climates and environments. I don't really have many insect problems and almost never see "borers"; but they're certainly a problem for many who contribute here. Most winters, 40-50 F (5-12ish C) are typical daytime outdoor temperatures in Normandie, although of course it does get considerably colder, usually for a couple of weeks in January. So the temperature in my unheated room simply mirrors what's outside, with less snails. ;)

    Late frosts are a recurrent problem in western France and southern England, but it doesn't stop us from doing a reasonable job growing maples! In fact the temps are much more reliable in Massachusetts (where I lived for many years). True it would be worth while to keep the plants a bit colder, but there isn't going to be a problem so long as they are re-acclimatized outside before they get too far along.

    Sometimes I think we over complicate, an impulse I understand but have to resist given the size of the garden and the number of maples in it... :) If Norm brings the Bloodgood inside this winter, either in his shed or the basement, and waters lightly about every 3 weeks, it will in all likelyhood come through like a champ. Bloodgoods are nice, tough trees.

    -E
     
  12. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Emery brings up a very good point. Everything from watering frequency to winter protection varies widely dependent on climate. What I do is probably overkill for many, but I do it because our weather varies widely over winter in my region. For us it's all dependent on the Jetstream. If it moves way south, we can have polar air move in and it can go well into the negative(F) and the air is extremely dry. Then a few days later, the Jetstream can move way north and we can get warm air from the gulf that pushes temps into the 60's and 70's and humidity climbs with it. Then the bottom drops out and we are back below freezing, sometimes in a matter of hours.

    I think the rules are the same, but how we all play within the rules is very different. For example, with winter watering. We all can't just mark our calendars and water every three weeks. Sure it's not a bad idea to mark our calendar, so we don't forget. But it really comes down to judgment. Knowing what is too wet and what is too dry and doing what is necessary to keep the soil at the ideal moisture based on air temperature and humidity (our soil mix plays a role too). It’s as simple as paying attention to the weather and sticking your finger in the soil. Nothing is ever constant in nature.

    For most of us who need to bring container grown maples into unheated storage for the winter, it's important to remember that we can't control temperature and humidity, we can only control how often we water. It seems like those who exercise good judgment and pay attention are the ones who have the healthiest trees come next season. It’s really quite simple to over winter maples in storage as long as you’re willing to pay attention and use good judgment.
     
  13. 17 Maples

    17 Maples Active Member

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    curious if any of you use a good watering meter to check for lack of moisture during the winter months ? I primarily use one on the outdoor Bonsais which I protect from wind as the culprit we are pretty temperate so having a cold front we can tell usually days in advance and move plantings closer to protected areas or "indoors" if need be.

    E ~
     
  14. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Indeed John, 3 weeks is just a rough guideline. As Yano points out the important thing is to keep the soil moist during the dormant season. Actually I only need to water a couple of times during winter, the humidity is so high here: mud capital of the western world... ;)

    I've never used any kind of soil humidity gauge, I just feel the soil.

    cheers,

    -E
     
  15. mylesahead

    mylesahead Active Member

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    thanks for all the advice, i think the best route for us is the basement,its 40-50 all winter has some light and its easy to acess,the shed i out back and if we get heavy snow we wont be able to reach it to give it water,will water it as needed, again thanks norm ps this tree is about 3 feet tall and doing well we will probable find a spot come spring for it outside
     

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