We’re loving our extended Colorado Autumn, filled with sunny, dry days which make the fall colors linger. We even love the fabulous snowfalls like we just had! But the typically very dry conditions throughout Fall are not great for trees and shrubs, particularly those newly planted.
Which trees and shrubs should I water? How often?
Both established and recently planted trees often require additional watering in the winter months during extended dry periods, defined as “more than two weeks without lasting snow cover”.
“Adding Fall and Winter water to your trees now is the best way to ensure optimum health and vigor for the growing season,” Vince Urbina, CSFS Forestry manager says. “Overly dry trees become susceptible to root and branch die-back, and subsequent insect and disease problems.”
Right now is an optimal time to water, especially with persistent freezing temperatures expected here in just a few days.
The Colorado State Forest Service offers the following winter watering tips:
- Watering newer trees is especially important. Trees planted within the last 5 years have a smaller, shallower root system and are especially in need of extra water.
- Watering evergreens is especially important. Since evergreen trees retain their needles all winter, they continue losing moisture at a faster rate than deciduous trees. Water your evergreens first.
- Water when it is warm. The best time for winter watering is on days when snow has melted off and the temperature is above 40 degrees.
- Water a wide area. Tree root systems may spread much wider than the height of the tree, with most absorbing roots in the top foot of soil. Apply water to soak the entire area underneath the full span of a tree’s branches.
- Water slowly. To ensure deep penetration, use a drip or soaker hose on a low setting (or soft spray wand) to apply water slowly to the full area at the rate of 10 gallons per inch of tree diameter.
- Retain mulch. To retain soil moisture and save water, apply 4 inches of organic mulch onto bare soil within 2 to 3 feet from the base of the trunk. Avoid putting mulch directly against the trunk.
- Repeat as necessary. Until spring precipitation arrives, be sure to continue watering every two weeks when there is no snow coverage and temperatures are above freezing.
Pull your hoses out and give your trees a huge drink this week, or call us to help!