christinavalenti
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question for opabinia51

Hi There, thank your for your response to my post about taking care of my dad's juniper tree. I live in New york and it's pretty cold lately. tomorrow should be warmer; about 40 at it's high, but normally it's been (and will be soon) freezing. the information i was sent with the tree told me not to keep the tree outside if it's that cold. SO, i was a little torn as to where to keep it. something wasn't sitting right with me having it indoors all week though. i have a screen house in my yard. it's only protected by a screen, is that safe for the tree? i mean at least for the next few days? My dad has a better protected, very sunny, very cool porch for it at his house and well, if i won't be able to find a proper place for it, we'll have to give the gift a little sooner. thanks again
Christina

opabinia51
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Hi Christina,

40 degrees F (5 degrees Celsius) is not to cold for your tree. We have Juniper growing in the mountains up here in Canada where it goes as low as -30 Celsius. And some Juniper species grow in the Desert (I can never remember if it is one "s" or two :? ) where nights go down to -5 C. But, in your screened area should be fine.

opabinia51
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Also, a lot of bonsai enthusiasts actually bury the pot of their plant (with the plant in it) in the soil for the fall and winter so that the roots don't get damaged from the cold. Keep this in mind as well because given that the tree is most likely planted in a small bonsai pot, the roots can freeze and that is not a good thing for the tree.

At least just give the pot some insulation when the tree is outside. (straw works really well but, I'm sure that there are other methods (an old blanket, putting the tree and it's pot into a larger pot.....)

christinavalenti
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opabinia51

opabinia51, how are you. what i didn't explain correctly to you was that in New york it can dip to anywhere from 30 to 19 degrees at night (so far) even though the daytime could be warmer, it's absolutely freezing at night. every book i read and the pamphlets sent with the tree all told me that the tree should NOT be kept outside if the temp drops to anything under 32 degrees. I'm extremely confused that you're telling me the opposite. (sigh) without insult to you, or the writters of everything i've read, i honesty do NOT know what to do. lol. and i think i may just give the tree up a little earlier.
Christina

opabinia51
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Hi Christina,


The reason why people bury their trees in the soil is because of the freezing aspect. If the temperatures in New York dip to 19 F, that is pretty cold and as I said previously you need to give your tree (your dad's tree) some sort of protection.

The tree definately needs to be kept outside as much as possible. One bonsai master that I once talked with said that the only time that a bonsai should be inside is when you want to showcase the tree at some sort of function and THAT should only be for a couple of days at most.

Anyway, even if the temperature did dip to 19 F; provided that you give your tree some extra insulation like: STRAW, BURYING THE POT, PLACING IT IN A LARGER POT and so on.... the tree should be fine.

A great bonsai book to get your Dad would be THE BONSAI SURVIVAL MANUAL which gives the watering regimes for different trees in difference seasons. Try your local public library and see if they have it and if you think it would work for you.

christinavalenti
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Hi again,

Thank you so much for taking the time to guide me as much as you have. our original plan was to give dad the bonsai by christmas eve which leaves us with just a few days left to care for the tree, and make sure we don't do anything wrong. (me especially), I will be sure to give dad all of the advice you've given me and perhaps instead of keeping the tree in his indoor porch he'll consider burying the tree outdoors. in your opinion, with just 5 days left on my watch, would it be wise to move the plant outdoors at this point our would that be a bit shocking to the tree seeing as how i can't plant it outdoors at my residence? i know dad will follow the correct instructions, i just want to make sure i do everything right until then.
thanks again.
Christina

The Helpful Gardener
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Dad's cool porch would be a better place for the tree long term, but one needs to be careful with the burying of pots; glazed pots can start to crack the glaze right off them, and unglazed can stain up pretty badly...

For short term, Christina, just water it well, put the tree in a cardboard box, and put it outside. You're gifting Sunday morning and the weather looks cold, but with that protection (just open the box during the day), it will be fine...

Just give Dad the web address here and we'll talk him through it...

Scott

opabinia51
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Hi again Christina,

Planting the tree outdoors is not what I meant. What people do is bury the pot as well as the tree just for fall and winter. (I personally don't do this msyelf but, it is one method)

Bonsai means: Potted Tree so if you plant the tree outside, it will no longer be a bonsai.

Okay, as far as moving the tree outside. Just putting it outside now would shock your tree and that would not be good. I would suggest moving it to your garage (provided that you have some windows) or to some other somewhat sheltered area first. Leave it there until christmas and water accordingly.

Get your dad to leave the tree in a sheltered area for a few more weeks to acclimatize the tree to the lower temperatures.

Then, (my number one suggestion would be to) place the tree and pot in a much larger pot with some straw, newspaper or some other insulating medium.

Check out the Helpful Gardener's advice on bonsai trees on the website. I'm sure that he'll be giving some more advice shortly.

Also, once spring comes round get your dad to fertilize the tree with some liquid seaweed fertilizer diluted as per the instructions on the container. I get my liquid seaweed from a local nursery for about 8 dollars a bottle but, you can also get it at big box stores (though I would personally prefer that you bought it at a local nursery :wink: ).

christinavalenti
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thank you both,

thanks so much. i did keep the cardboard box the tree came in so i'll place it in there and leave it outdoors until saturday. another plan was to leave it inmy brother's garage but there aren't any windows so that idea is out. thanks again, i really appreciate the guidance. the good news is, that the tree is doing really great, far as i can tell from the last few days indoors...it's even sprouting some greenery from the soil. BUT i don't want to take any chances. thanks again and i'll be sure to get that book you suggested, we were looking for the right one to buy him.
Christina
Christina

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That's a good one...

HG

opabinia51
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That's funny, I guess Scott and I were typing at the same time. When I started, there were no knew posts and after posting my post, both of ours were there. Crazy this internet thing.

Good luck with your Dad's bonsai Christina :)

christinavalenti
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hi

that is funny, actually i had only gotten the email notification for one post; and was surprised to see both you. :lol:
i am happy to report that when i took into consideration the adive you and scott both gave me, and the earlier advice of my uncle, i let the pot sit in water for about 15 seconds (right before it would bubble) then placed it in it's box and have it in the shed where it gets the sunlight it needs (not too much) and the temp is perfect. the soil has been great ever since and I'm feeling more positive, (finally) with only 3 days left to go! not bad.....lol.
thanks again, enjoy your holiday
Christina

The Helpful Gardener
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You as well, Christina. And to all else who read this, happy holidays to all, and to all a happy New Year...

Scott Reil
The Helpful Gardener

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