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seedlings durring winter

Posted by coachjohnsonlp 6B (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 0:05

A year ago I had no knowledge of conifers in the least. I met a "master" gardener as I was observing the amazing landscaping outside of his house. He took me on a tour of his property and told me about all the plants and trees. The next day I started researching conifers and growing conifers from seed and I grew over 500 of 15 different varieties. I gave most of them away to friends and kept 50 or so fo, r myself. I have Sequoiadendron giganteum, Pinus ponderosa, Picea omorika, metasequoia, Picea abies, Juniperus virginiana, Cedrus atlantica, Picea asperata, Picea wilsonii, Picea breweriana and Picea Meyeri. All are between 2 and 6 inches with the sequoia being the largest closely followed by the ponderosa pines. My question is what id the best protocol to follow during this upcoming winter. I will be moving to north eastern new jersey in zone 7. I started all of these seedling from December to February indoors. All of the trees have been outside since the first week of May. I also have 2 dawn redwoods that I bought at 10 inches. They are all most 24 inches tall now. Are they ready for a winter outside?

Thanks for any info you can give!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: seedlings durring winter

I planned on keeping the sequoia in my garage that will range from 25-50 degrees during the cold months. I have plenty of lighting as I grew 500 plus seedlings during the winter in my basement in NY. I am more uncertain about the spruce, cedar and pine trees. Most of them are tiny and I can't imagine them surviving a winter like last year outside.

RE: seedlings durring winter

Pot them into at least 4" containers and overwinter them in your garage (unheated). Make sure they're moist going into the garage and water them every month or two months as needed.

Bring them in when you feel winter has arrived. Fall is over and weeks or month(s) of temps have creeped in and/if it's going to freeze overnight.

I'm usually outside all day or the days prior to freezing watering my newly planted trees of that year.


RE: seedlings durring winter

Somehow I missed your second message. Yes, keep them all in your garage. That's ideal temps!


RE: seedlings durring winter

zone appropriate plants .. free seed themselves ... i dont know why there is any concern as to temps on such cold hardy things ... it is simply not 'singularly' a low temp issue ...

the issue is.. vermin ... pots heating and cooling .... episodic heat waves ... watering in winter ..... etc ...

the key ... vermin aside... is to get the plants dormant.. and keep them dormant ... thru the whole dormancy period ... going in and out of dormancy is a big problem ... and its complicated by not having roots deep into mother earth to stay dormant .... little pots can warm too much ...

also note.. a garage ... in z6... can easily range into z8 temps .... in the heat of the day ... because the sun is shining on it.. and the doors are closed ... and it actually gets too hot... and in some warm week in january.. all of a sudden all the plants think its summer and start growing.... and then ma nature slams you into a month of z4 ... if there is a window.. and its secure.. you might consider leaving it open ... and openning the garage on warmish days.. to avoid heat build up ....

i am trying to list all the variables for you you can think of them... and trying to get you out of thinking.. your only problem is that your babies will get cold.. that is the least of our problems..

watering in winter is also extremely problematic .... i use ice cubes ...

as to the sequoia.. good luck... i have no experience ...


RE: seedlings durring winter

Thanks Dax and Ken. That's a lot to think about... My current garage is insulated well and would usually remain around 30-40 degrees during the winter even if the temps get warmer the garage if left shut won't cool or heat up too much. I never thought about the watering issues so I am glad you brought that up. I have some of the trees in 6-8 inch pots all ready. The ponderosa pine tap root is over 16 inches long all ready even though the tree is only 6 inches tall. The sequoias root systems are equally as large so I moved them up so they wouldn't start wrapping around themselves. Are the metasequoia that are 24 inches in height ready to be planted outside this fall or should I wait until the spring?

RE: seedlings durring winter

You definitely could plant the metasequoias in ground this fall if you want. I can't see why not.

They're more than hardy enough to be fall planted in zone 6B.

RE: seedlings durring winter

anything growing out the bottom of the pot.. i would 'heal in' for winter ... in mother earth .... though at time a wicked cruel mistress.. she really is better at it than most of us ....

you have to separate each tree into its different cold tolerance.. and act accordingly .. it seems on some level ... that i think you are looking for one rule ...

i smoke.. i do not smoke indoors... its tough in winter ... on the worst days i spend a lot of time in my attached garage ..... i still think you are making some erroneous presumptions about your garage ...

i recall once... i had a bunch of small pots... and i potted them all into one giant pot... pots and all ... pot in pot ... the theory was that each little soil amount in each little pot had too much potential to thaw and refreeze at whim ... the idea of 10 gallons of media ... and wood chips was that a bigger wad of media... would temper changes in heat ... and then i left it in the pole barn ... not the attached garage ....

i would highly suggest.. in your zone 6b ... anything that will tolerate z5 or colder.. be HEALED IN... in mother earth ... you can repot them in spring.. if that is what you want ... or transplanted then ...

you are treating them like babies.. children ... and i fear.. on some level.. failure.. due to loving them to death ...

outdoors.. all you would have to worry about is voles and rabbits ... and many things can rebud and thrive if chewed on a bit ....

instead of temps.. humidity.. watering.. media failure ... etc .. wherein you rot the roots off in late winter or early spring.. there is no hope left ...

and this is the last time.. on thispart .. i have no clue on the sequoia ... and you will remember that.. and use none of my suggestions in regard to such ....


ps: if you are ferting.... STOP ALL FERT NOW ... we want them slowing down in fall for dormancy.... not on some speed trip ... and refusing to acclimate and slow down for winter ....

RE: seedlings durring winter

Thanks Ken for the detailed advice. I think I will split the seedlings between the garage and all natural outdoors other than my Atlantic cedar and sequoia trees. You are probably right about me babying the trees. I guess you could compare me to a first time parent which I am also. I try to stay away from the seedlings for a few days at a time to help resist the urge to messing with them some how. As for the garage I am fairly certain on how temperatures as I spend a lot of time out there. I have a digital thermostat in the garage and can actually see the temps from the last month on my smart phone or computer.

RE: seedlings durring winter

You are probably right about me babying the trees. I guess you could compare me to a first time parent which I am also.

==>>> you hit the nail on the head .... when you vary wildly from mother nature.. you add so many variables.. that you cant perfect them all ... and usually.. in my experience.. screw one variable up so bad ... you regret not doing it the easy way ...

so by using ma nature... you reduce the variables you can screw up.. to a minimum ... and increase your odds wildly ..IMHO ...

they are not children ...

stop feting now ... water properly .. and let them wind down ... plant in early fall.. when days are warm .. but nights are starting to cool ... fall is root growing time.. for me until ground freeze.. for you perhaps all winter ... depending on how cold the soil gets.. how deep down ...

once you have done this.. you are down from protecting from rabbits.. and mice.. and voles ...

if you have yard space.. a small plot with chicken wire and posts.. can keep away the evil bunny ... there was a post about this last year..

when you try to think it all out.. think of them as 100 foot trees .. no matter their current size.. and treat them accordingly ... they are not children ...


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