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Calgary Bonsai?

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Joda:
As am I. I am trying to join the group that is posted here, but I get an error. Is the FB Group still going?
HI everyone! I happened across this thread and have tried reading all. I am only just starting but excited to learn from people that are obviously nice and helpful!
Thanks!

M. Frary:
 Hi.
I live in zone 4 but a cold 4.
I can help.
Wintering questions?
Vole and mice problems?
I've been through it all.

RedJen:
Hi everyone, I'm also new to bonsai and live in the Calgary area. I think there have been several attempts to revive a Calgary bonsai group but nothing has stuck, at least from what I've been able to find. I have a Shimpaku Juniper that I've owned for a little under two years now that I bought from the shop 'Plant' in Inglewood. I mistakenly thought I could keep it inside, I kept it inside all of last year because by the time I found out it was a bad idea it was already deep into winter and I didn't want to shock it. Since late Spring/ early Summer of this year it's been outside and seemed to really enjoy it. I have noticed some minor browning and did an emergency transplant into a larger pot a couple of months ago. I probably botched this as I only removed some of the original soil from the root ball for fear of damaging the root system too late into the season, and have it now surrounded in proper bonsai substrate/soil.

But here lies my greatest worry. I have not given myself proper time for winter preparations and the snow is already here. Mostly because I'm trying to suss out what is best to do. I've pored over several sources all with different recommendations about what to do to prevent my bonsai from dying and all with warnings about not to do something that another article is advising. I have an East facing yard and that's where my juniper has been for most of the season, sitting on the deck. I've now moved it to the front of the house facing west in order to put it on some ground and up against the house to try to give it some shelter from the snow (when I woke up this morning the juniper pot already had a layer of snow in it). Though I think it might be getting more wind the ground is covered in mulch and the snow hasn't reached it yet. I'm very worried about the temperature because I was reading anything lower than -10C and all the roots will die. My basement is too warm and I have a small shed with an east facing window in the backyard but it's also on the patio and not on the ground and there isn't any way for me to implement temperature control in the shed. I plan on buying some sort of cold frame and getting some burlap and mulch and trying to dig out a hole in the front under my bay window where I have it now to try to give it some shelter, especially for the roots and perhaps a touch of residual warmth from the house to keep it around or above the -10C range, if that's even possible. My other greatest concern is our Chinooks, something that we look forward to to give us a break is detrimental to trees and plants. I was reading some earlier comments on this thread about a user whose worked with bonsai for 30 years and only a temperature controlled greenhouse worked for keeping her bonsai alive in our treacherous Calgary winters. I'm hoping there's something I can whip up in the next couple of days until I can arrange for something better. I am open to any and all recommendations from those who have more experience in Calgary bonsai.

Jay:
Hi.... First I do not live anywhere near you. I am in northern Vermont in the US. But... We do get cold here. -10c really isn't that cold. Your shed has possibilities. A major issue is desecation, the wind will dry out your tree real quick. Keeping it inside the (unheated) shed sounds fine. During dormancy the need for light is near zero. I keep my Larch and Junipers as well as Boxwood and spruce in my unheated garage, with barely any light. When the temps go below -10F I use a heat mat for the roots, and only until it gets up to +10F. Freezing isn't usually the issue.... Freeze , thaw, freeze, thaw etc is.
My two cents
Jay

RedJen:
Hi Jay, thanks for getting back to me. I agree that -10C isn't that cold, but in Calgary it can get to -40C in the later winter months and like many places our night temperatures can plummet. I should have enough time to prep for that hopefully. My juniper has been out in the front most of the day and I won't be home until much later because of work but I've asked if anyone is home to bring it into the shed. Hopefully it didn't get blasted too badly by the windchill factor which is currently reading at around -20C now that the sun is beginning to go down. What type of heat mat would you recommend? I could try to find a power pack or something along those lines that can go in the shed with it on especially cold days. Thanks again for your input!

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