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Winerizing Japanese Maple in very large iron urn

Posted by cilji Zone 6: MA (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 20, 10 at 15:21

I bought a Japanese maple last summer. It lived in the pot it came in through last winter and the spring of this year. This summer, I planted it into a huge Victorian iron urn. Now winter is here and I'd like to do whatever I can to make the maple "comfortable". The urn is too heavy to move indoors. I was thinking I could/should insulate the container to protect the roots, but not sure what with. Not sure what else I should do to protect the greenery. It will most certainly be exposed to snow. Any advice is welcomed. Thanks.

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RE: Winerizing Japanese Maple in very large iron urn

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 21, 10 at 14:16

First, moving the tree indoors would be a decidedly bad idea. It needs a cold, dormant rest period and will do best if you can keep the soil temperatures above 28* (preferably above 30*) and lower than 42*. The finest roots on this plant will start to succumb to cold when actual root temperatures drop much below 30*. 15* actual root temperatures is considered the industry standard as the absolute minimum A. palmatum will tolerate, but by the time it gets that cold, almost all of the fine roots will have been killed.

You might wish to remove the tree from the pot and plant it in a sheltered spot (against the foundation on the north side of a heated building). Often, 'urn' means the throat of the pot is narrower than the pot at it's widest, making it difficult to get the tree out w/o mangling the roots. This in itself isn't all that critical if you're doing a full repot in the spring, but it's much less than ideal if you have to remove the tree now.

Other options include burying the tree, pot & all, in a sheltered spot as noted above, or moving the pot to an attached, unheated garage to snooze away the winter.

Insulating the container won't do any good unless you are capturing heat from an extraneous source and using the insulation to keep it IN the container. Don't worry about the snow - that's how I water all the trees I over-winter in the garage - throw a little snow on them.


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