It’s time to water plants
The spritz of snow we had this week is a drop in the bucket when it comes to moisture needed to keep plants healthy. This is not a time to be complacent about dry plants. We need +/- 10 inches of snowfall to equal 1 inch of moisture.
Most winters along the Front Range, there is not enough snowfall to give plants the moisture they need. Remember, this is dry Colorado and even leafless trees and dormant lawns need winter water. This year’s exceptionally dry fall means watering is already in order. Adding supplemental water during the fall and winter keeps roots from drying out. Plants that receive water consistently will enter the spring as healthier plants.
Did you plant new trees, shrubs or perennials this season?
If so, they are likely long overdue for a good soaking if they have not been watered since the sprinklers were winterized.
Plan to check soil often and water throughout the winter.
What about other plants?
Any plants, if soil is dry down to a 3-inch deep, need water.
When can you water?
Anytime daytime temps are above freezing and the soil is not frozen, plants can be watered.
What about lawns?
Even though lawns appear dormant, they still need supplemental water especially areas of high sun exposure which tend to suffer winter kill.
How should you water?
- Trees and shrubs are watered most effectively with a hose and a deep-root watering device attached. Because you insert it well into the soil, you will get more water into the root zone than by simply watering the surface of the soil. Water in a circle that corresponds to the area on the ground where the tree branches end. Place the device at about 18-inch intervals as you water.
- For lawns, use a garden hose with a sprinkler. Water long enough so that the soil is thoroughly soaked without run-off. Water sloped areas in shorter periods, but more than once so water soaks in without running off.
Hold on to moisture
Adding a good wood mulch around bases of trees and other plants can conserve as much as 30% of moisture in the soil. It will also help insulate plants against severe cold and fluctuating temps. Important tip: make sure mulch is not placed right next to tree trunks and stems of shrubs. This can hold too much moisture and rot the plant.