Tips for Watering in Winter | Front Range Arborists

Tips for Watering in Winter

A well-kept landscape adds beauty and character to a home.

You’ve invested a lot of time and TLC in cultivating the natural ambience of your surroundings into the unique environment it is. At times, however, your efforts aren’t supported by nature itself. Dry winter air, lack of precipitation and drought conditions rob your vegetation of the moisture they need to survive.

During winter months, there might be no snow cover to nourish the soil. Without an alternative source of moisture, you’ll need to provide that moisture to your treasured trees and shrubs with a winter watering regimen. Moisture in the soil facilitates the uptake of vital nutrients, and winter watering ensures your trees and shrubs get what they need when Mother Nature takes a vacation.

A Little Winter Water Goes a Long Way

The good news is that much of your vegetation becomes dormant during the cold season, so you can supplement their water requirements during dry season without much difficulty. Nutritional requirements for your trees and shrubs are minimal during periods of dormancy.

Colorado vegetation receives most of the water it needs for healthy growth during the rest of the year, so just a few more inches of winter watering will generally suffice to keep your landscaping green and flourishing. There are several methods to accomplish this, but before you get started watering, you may want to consider these tips that will reduce water consumption.

Tree Pruning Reduces Water Requirements

Fall/early winter is an ideal time to trim back your vegetation, while they are dormant. Pruned trees are less susceptible to damaging winter storms and pests, such as bark beetles. Your landscaping will look better, and your trees and shrubs will thrive, requiring less nourishment to sustain good health after trimming.

This is also an excellent opportunity to implement a fire mitigation plan for your property. Tree pruning will provide adequate spacing between trees to reduce the chance of fire spreading. The result is a better-looking landscape, protected against fire, which will be easier to maintain through the dry winter months.

It is also advisable that you remove all dead or unhealthy plants from your landscaping at this time. This will prevent the spread of disease to your healthy plants, and prevent available moisture from being diverted to the root systems of dying vegetation. Your healthy vegetation will stay healthy, and require less work – and water – to keep healthy.

Winter Watering Application

As a rule of thumb, your trees need about 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter per month. In the fall, before your vegetation enters dormancy, a winter watering schedule will supplement whatever rainfall amounts do not provide.

For shrubs, you will need to supply about 5 gallons of water overall for those 3 feet in diameter or less, and up to 18 gallons total for larger shrubs (over 6 feet).

Tree roots are typically 8 to 12 inches beneath the surface, so a slow steady soaking application is recommended for adequately hydrating your trees. Using a soaker hose is an excellent method for winter watering.

A soaker hose works by seeping water from its entire length, as opposed to a full stream of water from a standard hose, which can saturate the soil without delivering the nutrients to your tree roots. You may also have local water restrictions to contend with, and a soaker hose will limit water consumption and still get the job done.

Alternately, soil needles can be inserted into the soil that will apply hydration more directly to tree roots. Whichever application method you choose, you should begin your winter watering, scheduled at least once per month depending on the amount of snow or rainfall, from October through March.

Increase Watering Effectiveness with Soil Aeration

Another helpful tip for getting moisture where it’s needed is to aerate your soil in preparation for a watering regimen. Hard, compact soil will prevent even an adequate supply of rainwater or supplemental watering from reaching tree and plant roots. When that happens, valuable moisture will pool at the surface and evaporate.

Soil aeration will facilitate moisture and fertilization penetrating down into the ground, where it can nourish your vegetation. Aeration will reduce the amount of supplemental watering needed to maintain your trees and shrubs.

We’re Here to Help

Front Range Arborists has been providing tree and shrub services in the Colorado Springs area since 1994. Our team of professionals offers a wealth of experience in the care of local vegetation. Our services include winter watering, tree pruning, pest control, weed control, fertilization and fire mitigation.

Contact us today for a free estimate on your landscaping needs. If you need help maintaining your trees, shrubs or turf, we will devise a strategy tailored to your home or business that will preserve the health of your landscaping year-round. Get your tree pruning and watering done by the pros, and keep your landscaping looking beautiful from season to season.

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