Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Ponderosa Pine Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Tony G on December 07, 2011, 11:56 AM

Title: Root Freeze
Post by: Tony G on December 07, 2011, 11:56 AM
   I just received my ponarosa from Andy Smith. What a nice tree, his pictures don't do it justice.  Well, the temps have fallen into the 20's F at night. In Andy's care instructions he says to dig a hole, fill with mulch, place tree in hole and cover to the rim of the pot with mulch. Will bark chunks work for this? It's I think the only mulch at lowes that is not artificial. Thanks fo any help.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Don Blackmond on December 07, 2011, 12:36 PM
yes that will be fine.  you are essentially just protecting the roots from wild temperature fluctuations.  the unprotected pot will warm and cool every day/night, and the temperature swings can be extreme.
you can wrap the pot in cloth/burlap and set it on the ground somewhere protected from wind and sun also.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Mozzy on December 07, 2011, 01:26 PM
Absolutely fine. Just one quick tip though; I see many trees left on display stands during winter. wrapped or otherwise. Get the trees off the display stands and just stand on the ground. Temperatures will be much kinder than being left stuck up in the air being blast frozen. This has even further benefits if you have a sheltered display area. Ground to up high can vary many degrees.

Mozzy
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Tony G on December 07, 2011, 01:30 PM
Don,
   Thanks for the  reply. What do you mean by the sun also? I thought Pondies liked the sun. And the spot I keep my bonsai gets sun most of the day. It's the only place that doesn't get blasted by the high winds we have out here. Should it just be left in the shed its in now? It's a 10'x10' metal building with a small window so it gets a little indirect light and is not insulated so it gets cold at night, but the temp fluctuations aren't as great. I'm just not comfortable with it getting that little light. However I'm new to pines and don't know very much about them.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: John Kirby on December 07, 2011, 02:13 PM
You are in a petty high zone (low temp wise), I would put them outside, do you get snows that stick very often (like Big Bear or Arrowhead)? John
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Don Blackmond on December 07, 2011, 02:20 PM
Once frozen, it won't need any sun.  You can keep it in 100% shade or even in a cold building with no light.

That wasn't my point though.  What I meant is this: keep sun off the pot.  Sun shining on a pot will warm it up, especially an unprotected dark colored pot.  Dark colors absorb light and heat up.  A constant freezing/ thawing cycle can damage the roots.  

There is another thread in this forum, I believe discussing greenhouses, in which Bill Valavanis provides information on cold storage of his collection.  Check it out.  You will find good information there.
 
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Treebeard55 on December 07, 2011, 03:34 PM
Like Don said, bark chunks will work well. Another option is dry pine needles, if you have someplace to get them.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: John Kirby on December 07, 2011, 04:03 PM
Don, he is in Zone 8b-9a. The low temps are not that low, like you and I think of. The tree won't be frozen- it will get some twenties, maybe on an exceptionally cold night in the teens, the days will be 40's-50's plus most of the time. The wind is probably the killer in desert.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Chrisl on December 07, 2011, 05:33 PM
I just placed mine on the ground and mulched up to the rim of the wooden box.  I didn't bury it, is that ok?
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Don Blackmond on December 07, 2011, 08:47 PM
Don, he is in Zone 8b-9a. The low temps are not that low, like you and I think of. The tree won't be frozen- it will get some twenties, maybe on an exceptionally cold night in the teens, the days will be 40's-50's plus most of the time. The wind is probably the killer in desert.

well then, just set it on the ground in a spot protected from the wind.  you don't need to do anything more.

I just placed mine on the ground and mulched up to the rim of the wooden box.  I didn't bury it, is that ok?

yes, that's fine, though covering the pot/soil surface helps.  its just extra insulation.  ponderosa are tolerant of extreme low temps with little protection.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Chrisl on December 08, 2011, 10:15 AM
Thanks Don!  I'll add some to the surface as well then.
Chris
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: mcpesq817 on December 08, 2011, 12:11 PM
Don, he is in Zone 8b-9a. The low temps are not that low, like you and I think of. The tree won't be frozen- it will get some twenties, maybe on an exceptionally cold night in the teens, the days will be 40's-50's plus most of the time. The wind is probably the killer in desert.

That's what I was thinking as well.  I live in zone 7, and I generally leave my ponderosas out on my benches for most of the winter (in a spot where they generally have a decent amount of wind protection).  On very cold days, I'll sometimes bring them into my detached unheated garage with my other trees, but otherwise, they seem to be quite fine outside for the winter.  

I'd put them on the ground, but I'm worried about rabbits, chipmunks and other varmints nibbling them.  I have a few trees in the ground that I'm growing out, and the damn critters love to chew off the bark and low hanging branches.  

If you do leave your ponderosas outside, I've found that the needles take on more of a grayish hue which could be disconcerting if you're not expecting that.  They end up greening up quite nicely once spring rolls around.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Chrisl on December 08, 2011, 12:33 PM
When I put them on the ground, I have them in an area that I put a welded mesh wire around the perimeter.  Well spent $40/50ft.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: mcpesq817 on December 08, 2011, 02:28 PM
When I put them on the ground, I have them in an area that I put a welded mesh wire around the perimeter.  Well spent $40/50ft.

I've been thinking about doing that too - that's well worth the money.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Treebeard55 on February 01, 2012, 02:25 PM
My hardy trees (including ponderosas) are under a home-made shelter, 8'x4'x3' and covered with a "spun-bonded" row-cover type of fabric. I've got 8-10 cans of mothballs scattered inside, with holes punched in the cans' sides to let the fumes out. That's enough mothballs that when I open the cover of the "rack," the smell of naphtha is noticeable, tho not overpowering.

This is the second winter I've used mothballs to keep critters away, and so far, the approach seems to be working just fine.  :)

Got the idea from Tom Brown.
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: John Romano on February 01, 2012, 03:33 PM
Hi Steve (and all),
I have overwintered my trees in a greenhouse for the past 20+ years.  Nothing about the space has changed.  I've used moth balls over the years also thinking they would work and I assumed they did since I never had anything but some minimal damage....
until this year!
I have had critters (mice?)  totally decimate some of my trident and Japanese maples.  They chew all along the trunk at the bottom and stripped some branches, etc.  
My first reaction was to increase the amount of mothballs in small containers and also scattered in the greenhouse. (Note that mothballs are poisonous to some animals and pets and only use them in an enclosed area).  Well that didn't work.  
Time to go nuclear!
  A few weekends ago I went to my local Agway and they have a 'critter repellant' in both spray and granular form that is organic and non harmful to plants and pets.  I had already tried the granular to little effect so bought the spray and have used it the past few weeks and it seems to be working.  The good thing about this stuff is that it is organic and not harmful to the plants so I can spray it right on the bark of the maples.  So far, so good.  Smells relatively horrible but that is the effect desired!  I"ve been reapplying it when the smell fades away.
Very frustrating when you've been working on a few small trees for a number of years and have to go back to the drawing board.
Why maples? - well if you think about it - they are sweet!  (maple syrup anyone!)
BUT more importantly why the infestation after 20+ years??  One of our theories is that we had a very small amount of acorns and other nuts this past fall.  Last year we had billions! and it was said that this is cyclical and last year was a bumper crop.  My theory is that, with the paucity of food sources this year, the critters are looking elsewhere for things to feed on.
Who knows?  This summer though I have to fortify the foundation of this greenhouse also with some fine mesh, cement whatever!  If that doesn't work, I'm hiring that special forces unit that got Osama and freed those journalists in Nigeria!
I'm actually too embarrassed to post a picture of a completely de-nuded trident shohin that I've been working on for 10 years ;-(
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Jay on February 01, 2012, 05:13 PM
John, I can only imagine......a horror for sure. I think the mild winter at least as far as snow has also been a factor. Please let us know ow that organic spray works, could be another weapon.
Jay
Title: Re: Root Freeze
Post by: Treebeard55 on April 01, 2012, 11:08 PM
John, I can identify, at least to some extent: some beastie -- probably one of those larcenous cutesy striped cousins of the tree rats ("Al-VIN!") -- stripped most of the bark from one of my in-development Japanese maples at some point in late winter. Yes, I was considering chipmunk stew!  >:(  (You can see more of my fulminations on my blog, if you're interested.)

Thanks for info on the repellent. Can you tell us what the active ingredient is?