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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Serissas: finding the limits on cold

The low temperature last nite in the mudroom was 31° F (-.5° C.) The weather forecasters expect tonite's low to be 16° F; so I expect the low in the mudroom to be about 26° F (-3.3° C.)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I, and others, have found by experience that serissas can take some degree of sub-freezing temperatures. What no one seems to know yet
is just how much cold they can take without harm. Two bonsai friends, Carl Rosner and Bill Swain, and I have been doing some experiments over the last couple of years to find out just where the limit is on serissas' cold-tolerance.

I have five serissas at present: four are the species, plain Serissa foetida, and one is a 'Snow Rose'. Of the species trees, two are rooted cuttings about two years old, and two are cuttings rooted this year.

The two younger ones are insurance; they've taken several solid frosts and freezes over the last month or so, and now they will spend the rest of the winter with the tropicals. My 'Snow Rose' is also going in with the tropicals until spring: named cultivars have been known to be less resilient than the species, and not just among serissas.

The other two are going to spend the winter in the mudroom, with special care as mentioned before. But the care will not be exactly the same. The one on the left will be pulled into a milder spot whenever the temperature in the mudroom is expected to fall below 28° F (roughly -2° C.) The serissa on the right will remain in the mudroom until temperatures are expected to fall below 24° F (-4.5° C.)
Protected below 24 F.

Protected below 28 F.

I would be quite happy if both trees survived the winter, and thrived next year! But that remains to be seen. (And given how cold our winters can be, it is entirely possible that one or both will spend weeks at a time outside the mudroom.)

And two more cuttings were struck and stuck a week or so ago, to have more insurance for more experimenting in the future! Stay tuned.

:-)  :-)  :-)

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