Over Wintering Small Oak Trees in a Container

(Question)

WE LIVE NEAR WASAGA BEACH ON AGREAGE WITH A REAR FOREST. WE JUST UNDUG TWO SMALL OAK TREES AND PUT THEM IN TWO LARGE POTS WITH GOOD SOIL AND SOIL FROM THEIR ROOT HOLES. THEY ARE NOW ON MY DECK ON THE NOTTAWASAGA RIVER. WILL PLANT IN YARD IN THE SPRING. PLEASE GIVE WINTER CARE ADVICE AND PLANTING ADVICE.
THANK YOU

(Answer)

Hi  – In terms, of winter care for your newly dug small oak trees, I suggest keeping the containers well watered on your deck through several heavy frosts. The oak trees should be completely dormant at this point. Then move the pots to an unheated garage or shed. This step will moderate the freeze/thaw cycle we often experience over the winter. A container will thaw more quickly than the ground and cause your trees to break dormancy and then be killed by the next freeze. The pots should not be allowed to completely dry out over the winter so check them occasionally and water sparingly to keep them just slightly moist. Bring your pots back out in the spring once you see signs of new growth on the trees.

For information on planting your trees next spring, see our guide ‘Planting a Tree: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide’ at the link below.

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/gardeningguides/planting-a-tree-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/

Thanks for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. I hope your oak trees thrive.