Not many people in Europe have missed it probably… Northwestern Europe is about to turn into a freezer with a thick coat of snow this weekend. How do you deal with winter and snow on your bonsai?
I have before written about what kills bonsai in winter. And the conclusions are still value. For many bonsai trees the cold is not the reason trees die in winter. Rather, freeze-drying in wind and sun, overly wet roots and reduced winter hardiness are causes of death in bonsai. Yet, with the cold coming up a few things are good to keep in mind.
How to deal with snow and bonsai
Snow is a perfect protective blanket for your trees. Today I took all my trees down from their benches and put them on the ground in a spot with little wind and sun. As soon as the snowing starts I will just watch how they slowly get covered. (Next week -12c is expected, and -16c was expected in earlier forecasts).
In my garden I have an unheated shed, where temperatures will drop to ambient temperatures very rapidly. However, the biggest dips in the middle of the night will be buffered. This is where I placed recently repotted trees, recently wired trees and sensitive species (pomegranate, olive, cork bark pine). Also my rock plantings are covered.
In a small greenhouse against the wall of the house I have put some recently grafted junipers, some heavily worked zelkovas. Most of my trees, local species and Japanese maples, are out and will be covered by snow, hopefully. Lets see how they take this, come spring.