Balcony Overwintering Success

Hi all —

I’m excited to share my success with overwintering my trees on a balcony (first time), especially after seeking advice last fall. I’m located in Northern Illinois, and although we experienced a mild winter, we did have a two-week period with temperatures plunging up to -35°F.

I prepared my balcony with cold frames placed against the house, using a layered approach:

1.	A base of insulation foam
2.	A layer of mulch at the bottom
3.	Pots were then set in place
4.	Heat tape was snaked around the pots
5.	Trees were covered with mulch up to the rim of the pot 

During the extreme cold snap, I covered the trees with a large tarp, which was the only modification I made to my setup.

For larger trees that couldn’t fit in the cold frames—specifically Larch, Redwoods, and a White Cedar—they were kept in a cement tub without heat tape, simply surrounded by mulch.

Hope someone finds this information useful. Happy (almost) spring to everyone.

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Well done I live in Nebraska and years ago I built a bench with a bottom shelf that can be removed. In the base I filled I with mulch and heal in my trees until it drops to 20 degrees. At that point I bring in the smaller trees to an unheated room in my house where I can open windows and keep the temp right around 30-40 degrees. The room also has a grow light set up on a timer to mirror actual day time outside. The mor cold tolerant bigger trees I leave out all winter. This has worked for 3 years now with success. At the coldest point in winter it’s usually about -40 to -30 degrees for about 7 days each winter but usually there is lots of snow when it’s that cold that I cover the pots in to help further insulate them.


Awesome, and thanks for bringing up snow! I forgot to mention it. Definitely utilized it each time it came down. Placing as much as I could on top of the trees that weren’t in the frame. Definitely is natures best insulator.