Over-wintering new grafted apples?

Jim Timber

5 year old buck +
I've made the decision to hold off on attempting to plant my seminar grafts until after the spring thaw.

This leaves me with 4 distinct options on what to do with them after they go dormant:

- Leave them in their buckets outside (not high on my list right now)
- Leave them in the shed (this would keep them from wind and sun burn, but they'd freeze solid for sure)
- Bring them inside my heated shop where they'll have no direct light and remain above 55F
- Bring them inside the garage where they'll have slight reflected sun and temps will be around 10F higher than outside

What will happen if I keep them in the 50+ temps without sun? Will they stay dormant when I routinely raise the shop temp to mid 60's?

And if I bring them in the shop with no light and keep them watered, would that be ok? I'm guessing they wouldn't respond well to being brought in before they went dormant as that would probably kill them from lack of sun. I have non-uv florescent lights in the shop, and even when I'm working out there it's not a frequent thing (winters are really slow for me).
I would bury the buckets in the ground to planting depth. Protect from rabbits and deer.
I used to store them in an unheated and dark section of my basement at my old place. Worked just fine. They do need to be dormant before doing something like that however. I've also overwintered them in an unheated but insulated garage...again..worked just fine. However, if such a garage were to reach temps below 10 degrees or so I think there'd be some root mortality.
Yep 2 of the 3 in my insulated unheated garage never woke up this spring, and I know it did get below 10 in there at times, as much as i dont like the idea of haveing to I think burying them is what I am going to do this fall
So if they don't get any sun, and they sometimes reach 68F, that's going to keep them dormant right? I can't drop the temp more and ensure it remains above 10. The machinery needs to stay above the dew point to keep from condensing when the temp is raised.
How many do you have? I would think 68 is not cold enough to go dormant. I am going to stick my apple grafts in the ground. Best of luck!
16 of them.

I'll leave them outside until they've been good and cold a while, I'm just not keen on the idea of moving them around multiple times in the winter to keep them from warming up from time to time.
Jim-You will eventually need to use aluminum window screen on them anyway. Buy the screen and staple it around them for this fall. Get the 48 inch screen that will cover most of the trunk and them just bury the buckets till spring. Tuck the screen down into the dirt a bit or just add a bit of backfill. Do you have a place to bury a few up at the lake?

It is also a good test of winter hardiness. I bury my seedlings in the vegetable garden.
My neck is hosed, an I have no desire to plant and replant these trees. I have a spot for them up north, but it still has mature trees on it that need to be removed first.

Get my buck early? hahahahahahahaha I'll get him when the shot presents itself. Last year that was 3 days before rifle opener and I misjudged his size and the bolt went under him.
One other issue comes to mind - you guys are saying the roots need to stay above 10F. With a frost depth exceeding 5 feet, how likely is that even in the ground?
With the roots in the ground, you do not get the fluctuations that you get when sitting above ground. With snow cover, they also do not get as cold when in the ground.

If ou can't dig a hole, just pile dirt around them and put the wire on. Put it in an area where there is usually some snow cover.
Last year I buried mine in my fenced in garden. Here's a picture the day I dug them out. This year everything is planted right in my garden - not in bags. So i'll probably just screen every tree with 36" window screen and mulch with leaves. I always dump all my leaves in my garden anyways and then mulch all my flower gardens with them in spring.

I had pots above ground buried in leaves and mulch, and the winter killed all of them. I didn't go out of my way to water the mulch, but I wouldn't risk it.
What about planting them? I planted some small crabs last fall and they were green and growing till the end of October. I had them in tubes...and didn't need to screen until this fall. I just wonder how much of a difference it is planting them September and next spring. I might try it.
I won't likely have the spot cleared of big trees for their new home. I'd rather not plant and re-plant as this is a weeks work for me without being messed up for a week after if I was to do it in one day. Planting 2 trees in a day was rough on me. I have bone on bone arthritis in most of my neck. If I work too hard, I lose feeling in my hands so I can't even drug up to mask the pain.
I just wonder if the root ball would even get above 55. I'm only out there 4-5 hours at a time and then it drops back down to 55. I can close the back room off and they'd get no sun. Keeping them inside until it warms up in the spring isn't an issue. Keeping them watered out there would be the trickiest part as it tends to get pretty dry and I'd have to cart water from in the house.