Answer

Watering During a Dry Winter

Question

We are in a moderate drought this winter; do I need to water my trees, shrubs or other plants that are now dormant? I've never watered outside plants in the winter!

Answer

Although watering outdoors in the winter is not necessarily my idea of a good time, it is important to be aware of the precipitation during this season and how it is affecting your landscape. During winter drought conditions can occur and dormant plants still transpire moisture, although at a slower rate than when temperatures are warm. Tree, shrub, perennial and turf root systems may be damaged if not given supplemental irrigation during times of low rainfall. At risk are plants that have recently been planted, evergreens, shallow rooted species and any that may be in a micro-climate where they receive reflected heat from buildings, walls or fences in southern or western exposures or in a windy site where the drying of the soil can be accelerated. Even bulbs will need water if they are to sprout in the spring.

Plants that have suffered from winter drought may appear normal and even resume growth in the spring because they have a reserve of food energy to keep them going for a short time. The real damage occurs in the roots and as the temperature rise the plant will weaken and possibly die.

Monitor the weather conditions, the precipitation (including snowfall in areas that rely on winter snowfall as a crucial part of their yearly water supply), and the condition of your soil. If necessary, water deeply once every 3 to 6 weeks depending on how fast the soil dries out. Try for a depth of 12 – 24 inches depending on what type of plants you are watering. Water only when the air temperature is above 40 degrees and around the middle of the day so that it can soak in before freezing night temperatures. Never water when the ground is frozen. The purpose is to provide for the roots to prevent desiccation in cold, dry ground by keeping moist conditions. Do not saturate the soil. Even if there is adequate precipitation it's a good idea to watch the areas close to the house foundation or under the eaves. These spots generally receive little or no rain and lose more moisture because of their proximity to the heated structure.

One final point, be sure to disconnect and drain all hoses after use.
Share this articlePrint this article
Related articlesSave this article in your favorites

Comments

herbs

by catzma1 on June 20, 2014 06:13
How do you pick herbs to downsize bush and harvest from a herb bush?











Fungus gnats

by Norma5Star on May 8, 2014 12:43
Wonderful! I am happy to finally have an answer to those tiny, annoying pests! Thank you P. Allen for saving Mom\'s house plants.

poultry problems

by dotti on September 15, 2013 02:27
I want to raise chickens and ducks but I don\'t have a coop. I live on 40 acre farm in ND. I am deciding between 6+ breeds of ducks and chickens but cant decide they\'re all pretty good egg layers and docile. I want pure breeds and have to have to have them all. What should I do? Where should I order them? Please help.

Virginia Creeper

by katherinelizabeth on August 11, 2013 12:41
Just another thought... the VC and the BK in my previous post are also nearly identical.

Targeting Just the Weed

by katherinelizabeth on August 11, 2013 12:39
If you want to use the synthetic weed killer close to good plants, try making a bottomless box out of an old cardboard one. Mark the outside of the box as such before you start spraying. Then place the box over the offending plant and spray... just it. Trick is to match the size of the box to the size of the weed you want to kill. But boxes are easy to come by, so you can make more than one. Had to do this to target some Bush Killer that came too close in my yard, and it did protect. Getting rid of the BK, however... well... :(

Dogwood tree

by gardenman18 on July 20, 2013 04:06
I want to learn how to plant a dogwood tree right way.

Clay Ground

by jackson.1943@yahoo.com on February 3, 2013 09:18
Will Roses do good in very bad clay ground?

Theme music

by betsi.vesser on October 13, 2012 09:15
I love this piece of music! It is so calming and just right for all those who love gardens. It actually describes my 94 year old mom who still likes to get out and work around in her garden! Thank you for giving us this lovely piece (peace) of music on each show.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.