Mohawk Hudson Bonsai Society

Dedicated to the art of bonsai

Archive for Wintering

Fall Bonsai Chores


As leaves drop from semi hardy deciduous trees, wait an extra week or two and then put them in the greenhouse if you have one. Leaves from tropicals (already in the greenhouse) will fall and must be cleaned up immediately. Set out bait for slugs and mice to prevent winter problems. No fertilizing is done in the greenhouse now.

If you have a light room, prepare it for your tropicals and semi-tropicals. Water trees frequently. Many features of a light room include a fan to circulate air and a humidifier to provide moisture. Plastic sheeting can help humidity levels stay higher.

Light can be provided by LEDs or flourescents (grow lights), and reflective foil will increase light. Metal halide lights give intense light but also throw off a good deal of heat which some trees may not like, and they also use a great deal of electricity.


Leaves are falling and temperatures drop. Prepare the winter storage area. A secure place out of the wind for hardy trees (perhaps with some sphagnum or similar to protect roots), and a cold area (above freezing) for frost-sensitive species, like a garage or breezeway. Winter temperatures between 34 and 40 degrees are ideal for many trees.

Stop fertilizing. This is the month to start major work in pines. Pines may be potted but waiting until early spring is best.

Outdoor trees which are frozen require no water, but above freezing do not let them go dry. Cover with snow or ice cubes which melt above freezing.

Indoor hibernating trees require less water than in the growing season, but don’t let them dry out completely.

November TWIG newsletter

IMG_3772Pictured is a rare variety of Icicle Buttonwood that looks pretty when frozen but dies immediately. I understand this tree survived though I can’t imagine why.

Click HERE to download the November TWIG newsletter of the Mohawk Hudson Bonsai Society. Our next meeting is November 23 (a bit earlier thanks to Thanksgiving) and PFM Bonsai will hold an open workshop all day from 9am to 5pm. Members and guests (and that means first time visitors) can stop by any time during the workshop to work on trees, get advice, learn about MHBS and bonsai gardening, or just meet some nice people. It’s also a great time to share tips and get advice on the always sticky subject of wintering trees. See you there.

Explore the mysteries of winter bonsai storage with MHBS

snow_bonsai_treesThe November 24 meeting of MHBS, at PFM Bonsai in West Charlton,  will include a WINTER STORAGE ROUND TABLE.

Join a spirited discussion and learn techniques for getting your trees through this challenging season safe and sound. Share lunch and show off of your bonsai at noon, with a meeting and program to follow. As always, non-members are more than welcome to join us for this meeting. If you are curious about the club, just getting into bonsai or looking for some face-time fellowship, don’t be shy. Directions to the meeting can be found HERE.

December TWIG

The December TWIG, official newsletter of the Mohawk Hudson Bonsai Society, contains photos from our group design session at November’s meeting, news about upcoming events and next spring’s Mid Atlantic Bonsai Society event, and great info from Pauline on wintering trees.