Living in Colorado, we have particularly unpredictable weather, especially in the colder months. Plants get confused (and, admittedly, I do too) on what season it is when we have a week of 70 degree temps in January followed by blistering winds and a massive snow storm. Even though deciduous plants have lost their leaves, their roots are susceptible to drying out without regular water. Evergreens (both conifer and broadleaf) are especially critical to water throughout the winter. Here is a simple set of guidelines to follow for winter watering to keep your plants healthy:
WHAT TO WATER:
Young, deciduous trees planted in the last few years
Evergreens big and small, broadleaf and conifer
Even bulbs may need extra water throughout the winter
If we have particularly long dry spells even your lawn will benefit from additional water throughout the winter, especially any sod laid this season.
Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials will need more water than established plants.
WHEN TO WATER:
If we have gone a month without any appreciable precipitation, your plants will need water. A good rule of thumb for small shrubs and perennials is that they need about 1″ of precipitation per month to stay healthy and survive the winter. Keep tabs on the weather and remember that a light snow of only a few inches does not equate to a few inches of precipitation.
HOW TO WATER:
Water only when daytime temperatures are above 40 degrees.
Water earlier in the day to allow roots to take in water before it freezes again at night.
When watering, make sure you are giving the plants a good long deep soak (just as you would do during the summer) rather than a shallow watering.
For trees, make sure to get the area at the drip line watered, not just right at the trunk of the tree. Use a deep root needle at a depth of 8″ if at all possible.
Mulching around trees and shrubs and in perennial beds will help retain moisture throughout the winter, especially in wind prone and southern exposure areas.
And remember, if you aren’t sure if you need to water or if you have watered enough, you can always get your hands a little dirty and manually check the soil a few inches down to see if it is saturated.
…And if all of this seems like too much work or a little overwhelming, call the GROW office to get on our winter watering service schedule!