By Brent Walston
Bonsai need protection from killing cold temperatures in winter.
The degree of protection depends upon the severity of the winter
in your area and the species that you grow. Protection can be
as simple as bringing them inside the house a few times on the
coldest nights, or it can be a complex scheme to store your entire
bonsai collection for the whole winter.
Do I Need Winter Protection?
If you grow only temperate climate plants (those that freeze
in the winter in their native habitats) and you live in USDA
Zones 8 and above, you will rarely need freeze protection. The
rule of thumb I use is:
No winter protection is needed for temperate climate woody plants
until the temperature falls below 15 degrees F (-10 degrees C).
Below this point, some kind of freeze protection is needed.
I live in USDA Zone 8 and each year I prepare all of my container
plant areas for freeze protection by programming the irrigation
system to come on if I expect the low temperature to approach
15 degrees F. When water freezes, it releases a good deal of
heat. The temperature of the ice does not fall until all this
heat is released and radiated into the surroundings. In addition,
the ice forming on the plant can insulate it somewhat, protecting
it from falling air temperatures. This form of frost protection
is widespread in the orchards and vineyards of our area.
Freeze Damage in Woody Plants
by Andy Walsh
The Three Stages of Freezing
I've heard people state that their trees are frozen in the
winter and survive. It's clear to me that there are some
about what it means when someone says a plant is frozen. If a
plant truly freezes it dies. The formation of ice within the
cells of a plant is invariably fatal. What I think many people
see in winter is the soil of their trees frozen and they equate
this with the plant being frozen. This is not the case. From
my readings, there are basically three stages of freezing that
can be observed with, and have significance to, a bonsai:
1. The freezing of the water in the bonsai's soil.
2. The freezing of "extra"-cellular water (water
outside cells) in the plant's tissues.
3. The freezing of "intra"-cellular water (water
inside cells) in the plant's tissues.
By John Romano
may have heard of the "Extreme
Games" and the "X Games" athletes pushing the
limits of their particular sport. We now have the extreme games
of small bonsai: Sumo Shohin!
I read an article a few years back by Mike Page in Golden
Statements (the magazine of the California Bonsai Federation)
titled "Sumo Bonsai" which described a style of bonsai
in which the trunk taper was quite exaggerated starting from
a very wide base upwards. One would best describe a tree in this
style as short and stout (a much kinder description of sumo
From this article sprang an idea that I have been developing
over the last few years in which this sumo style would be translated
to shohin size. From observations of exquisite shohin bonsai
seen both in exhibits and in Japanese books, the phrase "sumo
- shohin" originated. Here is a description of this style.
What is Sumo Shohin?
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