The Q&A Archives: Winterizing Japenese Maple In Container

Question: What is the best way to winter over a Japanese Maple in a container at an ocean-side, zone 5 home? Should I put it indoors or in an unheated garage? Should it recieve any light? What care would be best?
Thanks for your help!

Answer: Most Japanese maples are root hardy to zone 5, so if yours were planted in the ground it would winter without too much trouble. Since it's in a container, the roots could be exposed to too much cold if you left it exposed during the winter months. You can bury the pot in a planting bed in a protected area over the winter, or you can place the container in a larger container, surrounded by several inches of insulation to help keep the root mass from freezing into a solid glob. Don't put the plant indoors, even in an unheated garage, or you may induce early growth which will freeze back if you take it outdoors too soon. I'd opt for burying the pot in an east-facing spot, somewhere near a building that would block the wind. It's important that the pot has adequate drainage holes and that the soil around it doesn't get (or remain) soggy during the winter months.

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