The Q&A Archives: Wintering Over A Potted Maple Tree

Question: This summer I planted a dwarf Japanese maple tree in a large pot and displayed it in a patio garden. My question is: how do I winter it over? My options are a cool greenhouse (40 degrees minimum), a cold shed, outdoors in a sheltered area perhaps wrapped in burlap. What do you suggest?

Answer: It would be best to allow it to chill enough to go dormant naturally but not cold enough that the soil freezes and thaws repeatedly. In my experience it is always better to find a sheltered spot outdoors out of the wind and bury the pot in the ground where it can benefit from the soil's insulating qualities. A layer of mulch over the soil surface (but not touching the trunk) is a good idea, too. Alternatively, set it in a sheltered spot outdoors and pile a generous layer of mulch around and over the pot to try to insulate it as best you can. Finally, make sure it is watered enough that it doesn't dry out completely. Good luck with your tree!

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