Bonsai, cold frame, outside, protect, winter

I’ll answer two questions in this brief post about winterizing bonsai:

  1. What is bonsai cabinetry (according to Bonsai Iterate)?
  2. What is a cabinet-tree? (See what I did there?)

This is the answer to #1.

I call this winter enclosure “the bonsai cabinet.” It is basically a cold frame built up against the house. The trees stored inside are protected from winds by the corrugated plastic sheeting which covers the sides and large hinged door which you can see hanging from the deck above. When it’s closed up, the interior will run several degrees warmer than the outside temperature because it is up against the house. I have the added option of cracking the connecting window to let some of the heated air from the house into the enclosure on a very cold night.

The cabinet does not hold all of my trees. Many are just clustered together on the ground with a partial wind barrier created by overturned benches. I spread a layer of leaves across the ground, and place the pots and boxes down on top of the leaves. I, personally, don’t pack leaves or mulch around the pots. If I feel like “on-the-ground” isn’t enough protection, I will put the tree in the cabinet.

This is what that looks like before filling the space with trees.

Area prepared for clustering trees on the ground for winter.

I put the trees as close together as I can without the branches interfering with one another.

Trees clustered together for winter protection.

But what about question number 2? Maybe you’ve guessed already that a cabinet-tree is one that goes in the cabinet… and you’d be right but there is a bit more.

You see, I have several trees with pots that are a bit too small to leave out on the ground if we get extremely cold temperatures. Some of these are evergreen, and I’d like them to have better light than they will get in the cabinet. The cabinet is under the deck and although the plastic panels are clear, it’s just not a lot of light.

So for now, I have a bunch of small, bare deciduous trees in the cabinet, as you can see in the image at top, but I also have a bench of other cabinet-trees. These will do a bit of the bonsai hokey pokey.

You put your cabinet trees in, you put your cabinet trees out…

These “cabinet-trees” will move back and forth between the cabinet and the bench depending on temperatures.

That’s my winterizing plan. What’s yours?