Snow Care for Bonsai-

Here’s a short video we did during a major snowstorm here in Portland, Oregon. We don’t get much snow here, really, an inch or two is about it, so trees are outdoors for the most part. When we get more snow…we need to remove it or we can end up with broken branches.

The trick to removing snow on bonsai is to take off the majority of it, but leave what settles between the shoots alone. If you go too deep or aggressively to remove it, twigs can easily be broken. Leave the rest to melt.

Once the snow has melted and then frozen again, DO NOT ATTEMPT to remove more of it. It will stick to the foliage and the foliage will come off with the snow. Let it melt fully.

For those of you living in areas with frequent snow, a greenhouse or cold frame is the best option.

Please enjoy our video-

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  1. phlkrg says:

    Hmmm, since I’m located in southwest Florida, the only weather related issue in the winter is a lack of rain…or snow in your case. Still, this is an interesting read…thanks.
    Stay safe up there and c’mon down to see the sun!

  2. Eileen Knox says:

    I love the video and graphics! Thanks. We are having some really cold (4F) temperatures. I put up a green house. And mulched around my conifers, which are on the ground. Some of the juniper foliage is showing distress. Is my only other option to bring them into the garage when it gets this cold? The greenhouse for down to 11F.

    • crataegus says:

      Hi Eileen! We miss you. Yes, garage is a good option for those low temps, roots won’t like that very much, but lots of moving around. Try heating your greenhouse—might be pricey if electric is expensive in your area, but worth it.

      Greenhouses are wonderful to protect from wind, frost, and snow, but they do get cold. If you get below 20 frequently, I’d advise some heaters in there on a thermostat to keep them in the 27F range for overnights. Then you need to cool it during the days with open doors, etc, to avoid it going above 50F.

  3. Ruth Anderson says:

    Yes! I’ve done it that way for years–the little brown bonsai brush works very well on smaller spaces.

  4. Terry White says:

    I live in northern Minnesota. It’s going to be -20 tonight with -40 windchill. I keep my trees under the snow, it’s only 32 degrees under there. With my trees packed pot to pot and all the trunks and branches supporting each other, I’ve never have a broken branch problem even when covered by a couple of feet of snow.

    • crataegus says:

      Snow is a great insulator, very true. And one can use the technique you describe…but only with a bit of luck does one avoid broken branches and twigs.

      After snow storms we get the most broken branches in the woods; the same thing can and does happen to bonsai. But, if your bonsai are wired, that can prevent some breakage.

      And then we get into another problem with snow, and that is the weight of it can adjust our branch settings, which, if you’re into fine wiring and delicate branch setting, will tend to randomly adjust your branches and come spring you might have adjustments to make. As I will this spring…given the large amount of snow that fell this past week.

  5. Ray says:

    Looking good Michael, we ended up with 16 inches snow here and hadto do the same thing. Now we are still going to -8 deg at night. I hope all survives. We had torrential rain right before the deep freeze

    • crataegus says:

      Crazy year. Most things are fully dormant with us in the Pacific Northwest, that is some consolation. I think your trees are likely going to be ok with the cold. Quite a bit of moderate cold this fall. Some years we don’t get that…as for the snow, well, as long as it doesn’t break something, it’s an insulator, as another commentator here noted.

  6. Graham says:

    Nice video, as I heard the music I knew Andrew was behind the scenes…..perhaps we can expect more videos in the future?
    It’s been a very snowy year up north here too but no broken branches.

    • crataegus says:

      I think Andrew has that plan, yes!
      Snow is one way to find out if we have a weak or cracked branch somewhere, isn’t it? Snow seems the primary judge of that in the wilds.

  7. Frank Hovenden says:

    Hi Michael;
    It was a very appropriate video in light of the strong cold surge we have had here in the Pacific North West. I live on Vancouver Island where we had more snow that normal this year. In more normal winter events here any snow is usually followed by rain. This greatly increases the load on the tree by saturating the snow. It pays to be ahead of the game and remove the snow promptly.

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