Landscape Logic: Are your plants parched?
Even though our plants look dormant, the amount of moisture they receive — or don’t receive — in the winter can cause root damage and have effects that last all year long.
We have had an exceptionally dry year in Colorado. Even with winter snow, we can’t assume our plants have enough moisture. Snow doesn’t go as far as you might think: it takes, on average, 10 inches of snowfall to equal 1 inch of rain.
Watering our landscapes makes a big difference in sustaining our plants through the winter months and gives them a healthy start for spring. If they start the growing season in a water deficit, they won’t do well when the hot summer weather hits.
Winter watering is especially important for newly established plants. If you planted new trees, shrubs or perennials last year, make sure they are watered regularly to keep them in good shape.
And don’t forget about your lawn. Winter watering of your lawn can help prevent root damage and turf mite damage. Lawns with south or west exposure, as well as those in windy conditions, can be more susceptible to dryness or damage.
Experts at Colorado State University offer these guidelines:
Water when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees with no snow cover.
Water mid-day so that the water doesn’t freeze overnight and cause damage.
One or two times per month, depending on conditions, is usually sufficient.
For trees, a good rule of thumb is to apply 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree.
Cherie Courtade is communication director of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford is a member. Neils Lunceford Inc. can be reached at 970-468-0340 and at http://www.neils lunceford.com.