Wintering in pots

cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)June 16, 2008

Hi all!

I just finished repotting probably 30 small JMs. I like the pots they're in and they should be good for a while, perhaps a year or two.

I was wondering how those who overwinter their JMs in pots do it? I know a lot of people have patio containers, but what do you do with them during the winter?

I have spent years burying the pots in the ground until the next season, but don't really want to do that again this year. It's so much work and some of the pots are too nice, really, to bury.

Any suggestions for the DC/Maryland suburb's weather?



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Have a garage?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 10:09PM
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rigo74(7b TX)

I have one that was in a pot for two years and I would bring it in the garage during the winter.I have just planted it in the ground this spring and is doing good.

Good Luck with your JM!


    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:56PM
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I have 50-60 JMs in pots in Philly. The small pots and the notoriously tender cultivars I stack in large trashcans with good drainage and fill them with leaves. The big ones i just cluster them together, If it get really cold June is an unusual moth for repotting. In zone 7 repotting in Oct has worked great for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: maples in pots

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:58PM
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With the exception of only two, ALL my Japanese maples are grown in containers. And I do nothing special regarding winter protection except with the smallest containers (generally around 1-2 gal). I do realize my zone is slightly milder than the OP's but unless you get some extended cold snaps in winter or a late season freeze (and that'll effect both containerized AND inground plants), I'm not sure you'd have to do much in the way of winter protection either. But size does matter :-)) - the larger the container, the less chance of possible root damage during extended cold spells. Herman's advice would work regardless.

FWIW, mine are all long term plantings. Some have been in the same container for more than 10 years. Never lost one to winter damage yet.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 9:17AM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

Herman, June has been an unusual month here. In my shade, it's very cool. I didn't repot this last year, so I felt some should be checked. Most were fine, but since they were out of their pots... Thanks for the link.

As for a garage? Kind of. My home is a construction site due to all kinds of TMI. I've wintered bulbs, etc., in there, only to find the mice have eaten everything to the point of beginning on the cardboard boxes.

I think it's sounding like the smaller containers might be back in the leaves/mulch and the larger clustered and covered.

10 years in the same pot? Do you do the root maintenance or just leave them? Wow. Mine are all 1-4 year grafts and some of their root structures were happy? aggressive? But wild enough that I had to repot them spring and fall for the 1st couple of years. Huh.

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 7:59AM
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The older ones in larger pots get root pruned/repotted every 3-4 years. I tend not to pot up often, preferring to plant in larger sized containers initially. Works well as long as you have a very good, fast draining soil medium.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 11:18AM
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tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

I used some old rubbermaid container tubs, drilled some holes in them, and covered my potted JMs with dead leaves. I kept the rubbermaid containers on the north side of my house all winter. The JMs emerged unscathed and happy. This is the first time I did this so I guess it's not rocket science!

-- Tony

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 1:01PM
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staceybeth(7 MA)

I usually wrap my 4 in burlap and put them on my back deck against the house... doing great this year!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 6:16PM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

I put a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood on its side on the south east corner of my house so it extends the south facing wall. I put all by pots behind the plywood and bury them with oak leaves. The plywood shades the plant so they don't have large fluctuations in temps from the sun in winter while the east facing wall and plywood protect them from wind. This has work very well for all my potted plants including japanese maples. David

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 11:36PM
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I do 3 things:

1) Move some into a small, unheated greenhouse.
2) Arrange a bunch of pots together, then cover and surround the containers, right up to the rim, with arborist wood chips.
3) For display containers, all are cache pots. That is, to say, I put a smaller nursery container inside a larger, decorative container. I place arborist wood chips or packing peanuts at the bottom of the larger container, and around the sides of the smaller container, acting as an insulating layer.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 11:16AM
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I grow a lot of JMs in pots. I try to repot trees, if they need it, in fall so they will have plenty of soil insulating the roots. I keep my maples outside all winter except during extreme cold spells, when overnight lows are forecasted below 20F. That usually doesn't happen until January, and at that time I cart all of my maples into the garage, where I keep them until the temps are unlikely to dip below 20. I try not to leave them in the garage any longer than possible because the warmer temps can cause them to leaf out too soon. I haven't lost any trees or suffered significant freeze damage using this method.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 12:55PM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

Mine are outside. The only time I've taken them in is a year ago when we had the Easter freeze. One of my large trees, a Sango Kaku, had significant die-back this spring -- but I am relatively sure that was due to old waterlogged potting medium rather than the cold.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 6:52PM
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cfmuehling,A garage or a shed would be a luxury for those few weeks when it threatens to go down in the teens,especially since sunlight is not a concern at that time. If you do use a garage keep an eye on moisture content, or if you can tuck them somewhere where the wind is not brutal and keep them slightly damp you shouldnt have much of a problem. Bed them in, or mulch them up,they withstand the cold pretty well. The trouble starts if they get bone dry. AL

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 9:31AM
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