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Storing potted tree seedling for the winter

 
Reist John
Posts: 9
Location: Rollingdam, NB Canada
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I have been buying bareroot trees as well as growing them from seeds, planting them and trying to sell them to gardeners. My problem is what to do with potted trees during the winter. Last year I placed half my trees in a shelter covered in leaves and half in the woods surrounded by fence and covered with leave. Neither idea really worked, the shelter trees seemed to be dried out and the trees stored outside had broken tips.

The trees seedling I have are black walnut, butternut, tulip tree, catalpa, mulberry, dogwood, redbud, white elm and sugar maple. Any ideas on how to store them. I built a new garage with an attic and I was thinking about putting them up there, would that work

Rollingdam, New Brunswick, Canada
Zone 5
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 453
Location: North-Central Idaho
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Plant them outside in a nursery bed! You just need a sheltered spot with lots of sand in the soil, transplant into that prepared bed for the winter and then pull them out and pot them back up when you are ready to sell them or they get too crowded. You should be able to plant them on six inch centers ( about 15 cm) so it won't really take a whole lot of space. They won't dry out and should be easy to keep that way.
 
Reist John
Posts: 9
Location: Rollingdam, NB Canada
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Soil here is clay
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Location: North-Central Idaho
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Get some sand....dig out the clay where you want you nursery bed and replace it with about 70% sand 25% compost and 5% native soil (if the soil is all clay). Unless you have a thousand trees it shouldn't take up that much space and materials, and you can reuse the bed oretty much indefinitely. Just an idea.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 453
Location: North-Central Idaho
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You could always just sell your leftover stock super cheap or donate them to a local charity fir a tax write off.
 
Reist John
Posts: 9
Location: Rollingdam, NB Canada
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Could I barrythe pot or should they be taken ot of the pots and planted? I will be working with some trees next year that can develop a long tap root
 
Reist John
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Location: Rollingdam, NB Canada
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Would raised beds work for storing the trees for the winter?
 
Denis Huel
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I frequently store potted trees over winter in Saskatchewan. I simply dig a trench the width and depth of the pots and place the pots in the trench filling the spaces along side and between the pots with some of the excavated dirt. Chose a sheltered area where snow will cover the ground. Make sure the plants are well watered before freeze up. You could mulch with leaves but run the risk of mice settling in for the winter. I occasionally lose the odd plant. I suspect drying is the culprit. I overwintered some butternut trees last winter without any difficulty even though the coldest temperatures of the year occurred (-30C) in the first half of November when there was no snow.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Denis Huel wrote:I frequently store potted trees over winter in Saskatchewan. I simply dig a trench the width and depth of the pots and place the pots in the trench filling the spaces along side and between the pots with some of the excavated dirt. Chose a sheltered area where snow will cover the ground. Make sure the plants are well watered before freeze up. You could mulch with leaves but run the risk of mice settling in for the winter. I occasionally lose the odd plant. I suspect drying is the culprit. I overwintered some butternut trees last winter without any difficulty even though the coldest temperatures of the year occurred (-30C) in the first half of November when there was no snow.


Very good post Denis, exactly the right way to over winter small trees.

If you have it, mixing the natural soil excavated from the trench with some compost will allow the soil to hold more water and that will help prevent drying of the roots.
Drying of the roots is the prime killer of potted trees. If it is going to get really cold, a misting spray of water freezes on contact and protects when buds are forming as well as preventing transpiration water loss of small branches.
 
Reist John
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Location: Rollingdam, NB Canada
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Denis Huel wrote:I frequently store potted trees over winter in Saskatchewan. I simply dig a trench the width and depth of the pots and place the pots in the trench filling the spaces along side and between the pots with some of the excavated dirt. Chose a sheltered area where snow will cover the ground. Make sure the plants are well watered before freeze up. You could mulch with leaves but run the risk of mice settling in for the winter. I occasionally lose the odd plant. I suspect drying is the culprit. I overwintered some butternut trees last winter without any difficulty even though the coldest temperatures of the year occurred (-30C) in the first half of November when there was no snow.


Would you lie the trees in pots on there sides or stand them upright ?
 
Denis Huel
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Reist John wrote:
Denis Huel wrote:I frequently store potted trees over winter in Saskatchewan. I simply dig a trench the width and depth of the pots and place the pots in the trench filling the spaces along side and between the pots with some of the excavated dirt. Chose a sheltered area where snow will cover the ground. Make sure the plants are well watered before freeze up. You could mulch with leaves but run the risk of mice settling in for the winter. I occasionally lose the odd plant. I suspect drying is the culprit. I overwintered some butternut trees last winter without any difficulty even though the coldest temperatures of the year occurred (-30C) in the first half of November when there was no snow.


Would you lie the trees in pots on there sides or stand them upright ?



Upright just as if they were planted.
 
steve bossie
Posts: 249
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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thats what my father used to do w/ his extra tree sedlings for the winter. he wouldn't even take them out of the pot. come spring, before leafout, he would transplant them to their permanent location or put into a bigger pot for resale. our local nursey does the same with their leftover stock in the fall. perinnial cuttings need some protection from the weight of the snow tho. a shallow raised bed with a old windowed , insulated house door works good for a top. paint the windows w/ white paint so on those warmer winter days the sun doesn't warm up your plants. you don't want them to break dormancy and refreeze.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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