Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moving Potted Plants Indoors for the Winter

Perhaps you have invested in a new species of potted plant, or maybe you have recently purchased your first one, but what will happen to your root-bound friend when the temperatures outside drop to an inhospitable level? Big or small, you can’t just haul your potted tree indoors without a little bit of preparation. If the transition is made incorrectly your formerly flourishing foliage may begin to whither away before your eyes even if you aren’t doing anything different from when you first bought it. 


It may not seem like your potted tree need a new pot quite yet, but if you think you will need to change it within the next year go ahead and do it now. Upgrading to a larger pot may become necessary in the winter, forcing you to expose the tree’s delicate roots to the extreme winter climate when you do change to a larger pot. 

Go ahead and prune your potted trees, removing all dead plant matter that could obstruct the scant amounts of indoor window sun. Be careful not to make any shocking changes, since any transport (even short distances!) are already traumatic enough for any live plant. Sometimes declining health of an indoor tree is a sign of root shock from moving, not from improper care. 

Moving the Tree

This is the important part. Large potted plants can weigh more than can be safely carried, and even smaller trees can be rather cumbersome to transport without damage. Rent or invest in a plant dolly that has plenty of rooms for fragile branches, and wrap a sheet around the tree so that nothing snags on the door. A doily or mat should be placed on carpet to prevent permanent dents and a felt pad is great to protect hardwood from scratches. 

Considerations for Placement

Just because your plant thrived great outdoors doesn’t meant that it got full sunlight all day. Try to mimic the same sun patterns indoors that your potted tree is used to. A sudden change can really impact your tree’s health, although it’s not likely to kill the thing if you’re planning on a permanent arrangement. Large trees can be hard to spray for pests so ensure the chosen area is easily accessible to you, but impossible for pets to reach. 
With a little planning and forethought your potted tree should have no problems making the change. Many of these tips also apply for the move back outdoors which can be twice as cumbersome if your plant grows quickly! Any supplies needed for placement, moving, or maintenance can be recommended by your local tree care professional so you can have the right tools for job!

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