Author Topic: Calgary Bonsai?  (Read 14618 times)

ortizdhs

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2014, 11:53 AM »
Not really, one of the most important things that is needed before a collection is an appropriate place to plant the material that we bring back. I think you are one step ahead!!
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re:
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2014, 09:27 PM »
Yea i agree with ortiz, it us far worse the way i do it which sorce eluded to, which is collect a tree, find out it doesn't fit in anything i own, then scramble and build a box....


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SusanCue

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2014, 01:38 PM »
I've tried several methods of keeping indigenous varieties outside in Calgary.  Left on shelves they freeze, then Chinooks thaw them, then they re-freeze when it gets cold again.  It's just too confusing for them.  I tried covering trees with several layers of burlap then burying the pots to the base of the trunk to keep them frozen.  You would think this would work, but in the Spring most trees leaf out before the ground thaws making re-potting impossible.  I tried re-potting in the Fall; that would work for a few years but I always lost them.  (I may try this again now that I know more than I did then.)  A friend tried digging a big hole and putting shelving in it to keep trees protected and frozen but it didn't work; they still thawed during the Chinooks and he eventually lost all of his trees.  Chinooks are deadly to Bonsai! 

Unfortunately, the only reliable way to grow Bonsai in Calgary is in a greenhouse that has a heater for the Winter and good ventilation for the Summer.  In the Winter I cover my pots with thermal fabric that rejects heat.  On really warm Chinook days, I put snow or ice on the soil to keep the roots cold and prevent the trees from waking up too soon.  That's when I'm really glad I use soil with good drainage!  I keep tropicals inside and put them in the greenhouse to enjoy the summer heat.  The greenhouse also protects my trees from our deadly Summer hailstorms.

I've been doing Bonsai in Calgary for 30 years and this is the only methods that works.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but facts are facts.
 

jlushious

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2014, 02:17 PM »
Thanks for sharing Susan! I am just trying to work out my winter strategy as well. Unfortunately I don't have a greenhouse so things could get interesting! I was going to dig a trench on the north side of my house, load the pots in, mulch and then when it starts to snow bury everything and keep it covered in snow all winter. Being on the north side it should stay frozen if I keep it covered. At least I will try! I don't have any other options!
 

SusanCue

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2014, 04:13 PM »
That's a good idea.  The only problems you may encounter are that we don't always get lots of snow over the winter and also when we get Chinooks, it melts.  I once tried doing something similar; I used straw to mulch the trees but over the winter there had been so much thawing and re-freezing that it had created ice and I couldn't get the trees out when it was time to re-pot in the Spring.  Do you have an unheated garage with a window in it?  You could put your trees on a table close to the window. 

When my greenhouse was being remodeled a few years ago, I kept my trees in the house on a big shelf that has large windows on each end.  I covered the entire area with heavy plastic, put a thermometer inside and opened the windows as needed to let in cold air.  I sealed the top, sides and bottom with duct tape to keep the cold air in the area and out of the house.  It was a real pain getting in there to water, but the trees did fine.  A basement window would work for this but not a south-facing window; it would get too hot.

I've always envied people who live in climates where they can just leave their trees outside all the time.  It would make doing Bonsai so easy!
 

jlushious

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2014, 04:39 PM »
Hm, yeah that could be a problem, I will have to work something out. I rent my house and we don't have a garage or access to the basement (or a spare room to turn into a cold room!). Definitely limits things. I will have to take a try at it this year and see what happens, I don't really have other options.
 

SusanCue

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2014, 05:16 PM »
I know how hard it is.  I've been doing Bonsai in Calgary for over 30 years and have found the temperature-controlled greenhouse to be the only thing that's reliable.  I know not everyone has a greenhouse.  If you have someone in BC to take care of your trees, you're better off leaving them there for a few years if you plan to go back.  I'm sure you know that you can't grow trees from BC outside in Alberta; wrong climate zone.  Without a greenhouse, the only Bonsai trees you can grow here reliably are tropicals.  Nice ones are hard to find; I bring mine in from Florida.

Please stay in touch and let me know how you do.
 

jlushious

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2014, 10:15 AM »
Well I finished my winter prep yesterday. I dug a trench alongside my house on the north side, used the dirt from the hole to build up a bit of a berm around the edges. I lined it with straw and then put all my plants in there. I gave them all a good final water and then packed them with more straw. I covered some completely, others up to some of the lower branches. All the pots have straw packed in between them for maximum insulation.

Once it snows I will stack all the shovelled snow on top for extra coverage and hopefully that will keep everything frozen for the winter.

I will have to dig in and give them a water every once in a while since the straw has a tendency to shed water a bit (especially when it's as deep as I made it). But when we get chinook winds and things warm up I should be able to poke the watering wand in there and give them all a water when they need it.

Pic below is halfway through the straw packing process. Fingers crossed!
 

Judy

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2014, 11:47 AM »
Do you have to do any protection from mice and moles and voles where you are?
 

KmtConan

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Re: Calgary Bonsai?
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2017, 04:05 PM »
Hey guys, im new ro bonsai and living in YYC, i was just hoping to revive this thread and see if anyone is around.