Preparing your bonsai for Winter

For many, the winter season storms have already begun and brought snow. For others, as we get closer to the winter season, itís a good time to prepare your trees.

Insulation: The largest concern for your tree is protecting the roots from freezing. If the roots of your tree become frozen, this may kill your tree. Since bonsai trees are in pots, they are more susceptible to freezing. Some hobbyists will place the tree in a hole to insulate the pot. Any type of insulation will help your tree. However, you do not want to create an environment too warm. Otherwise the tree may wake up from dormancy.

Watering: The decreasing temperature will cause your tree to dry out less. Therefore, you can cut down on watering. Water your tree when you think it is dry. Youíll still be able to tell this by looking at the treeís soil. Soil that is heavy with organic material will also be more likely to freeze. Using a soil mix with more aggregate material will help your tree and itís roots.

Species: Certain species of trees may need to be brought into a greenhouse or inside. Chinese elms and Tea trees are sensitive to colder weather. Giving them shelter will help. However, the cold may cause them to lose their leaves.

Itís always best to allow your tree to go through itís natural cycle of dormancy. Evergreen trees will slow their growth. Deciduous trees will lose their leaves. In the spring, new leaves will sprout and your treeís growth will begin again.