Winter Care Options-

Every year I get many questions regarding winter care of bonsai, which is lovely of course since we spend so much time worritin’ over their management during the growing season that it would be a shame not to properly worrit over their hibernation quarters, too.

But rather than an epistle on winter care, here are a few shots of my bonsai garden showing several options, and a comment or two about them. Some possibilities I don’t have here, like a cold frame. But examples of placement on the ground and inside a greenhouse I do have.

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For many who live continental climates, especially those much colder than what I have here in Western Oregon, USA, a greenhouse is a wise choice. The shelter of a greenhouse will protect from wind, frost, and snow, all of which, given enough of it, can cause damage to bonsai.

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Trimmed accent plants on the ground underneath the benches in the greenhouse. Small pots are more subject to environmental extremes and are at more risk to exposure.

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Outdoors on the ground is an option for those in semi-mild areas (like myself) where there are still frequent light freezes but not many severe ones. The heat from the earth keeps the pots a bit warmer. With very cold temps and a lot snow and wind this simple placement on the ground will not be enough protection. For those cold winter areas a cold frame or better yet a temperature controlled greenhouse is a safer bet.

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Gravel bellied up against the pots and boxes helps protect them. We also screw them in a bit to be sure the bottoms are in good contact with the gravel.

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Near a fence or other structure can provide light protection from winds.

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And a few under the protection of eaves. Those living in areas that rarely get down to freezing may leave bonsai on the benches. Feel free to ask questions about winter care in your area.

11 Comments

  1. andersonccmmecom says:

    I don’t have a greenhouse or the options outlined above so, I have been putting my smaller Bonsais that are at greater risk to freezing in my garage with a grow light on a timer to simulate daylight. The temperature is pretty much averages in the 50’s. My larger trees go close to the house where it’s protected or on the ground with mulch.

    • crataegus says:

      With good airflow a garage can be ok. 50’s might be too warm though if they are temperate species. Low 40’s will give you a dormancy. But I know temperature control can be problem.

  2. ah… I wish things were that simple here in Wisconsin
    (and having done some time here in the great city of Madison, I believe you know what i mean)

  3. Sage Smith says:

    Your nuggets of wisdom are always very much appreciated my friend. Here in Western NC I coldframe my plants. I live at 3300. We will have a few weeks in winter that don’t get much above freezing for the highs and lows in teens and sometimes lower. Also I find that keeping my trees out of the extended wet weather of winter here works for me as well. Thanks again

  4. David Wheeler says:

    thank you Michael for sharing the winter protection ideas…….hope you and all enjoy the holidays with no deep freezes… David

    On Sat, Dec 22, 2018 at 2:00 AM Michael Hagedorn wrote:

    > crataegus posted: “Every year I get many questions regarding winter care > of bonsai, which is lovely of course since we spend so much time worritin’ > over their management during the growing season that it would be a shame > not to properly worrit over their hibernation quarter” >

  5. GAVEYT says:

    Only to say: ENJOY the SEASON and your TREES all year ’round and, may I WISH ALL Bonsai Aficionados a HAPPY, HEALTHY, PROSPEROUS and GREENER 2019!!!

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