When the temperatures drop, and cold winds and snow replace your grass and bugs, you may wonder – should you continue to water your plants? In some situations, winter watering is smart, especially if you have younger plants that are still getting established in your garden. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about winter watering and if it’s something to invest time and effort into this season.
Do Plants Require Water During Winter?
Do you live in an area that doesn’t get many heavy snows? Or, are drying winds common? If either of these are true, supplemental watering during the winter months is essential. While most plants are dormant in winter, they aren’t dead during dormancy. There are still basic metabolic functions that are driven by the water absorbed from the soil. Roots may dry during the winter without this water, which can cause permanent damage to your perennials.
If you water your plants when it’s near freezing, you may think the newly wet soil is going to freeze and injure the plant’s roots. However, if you water early enough in the day, the water you give your plants can provide protection against the common nighttime freezes.
The water in the soil serves as a trap for heat and helps the soil and area around your plant stay warmer than the air as night approaches. When you couple this with insulated covers, the extra heat can protect your plants from damage.
How Much Water do Your Plants Need During Winter?
While dormant, your plants won’t need as much water as they do in the summer and spring. However, it’s important to make sure you water them deeply several times per month.
Your bigger perennials and trees need to be watered between the plant’s trunk and the drip line to achieve the best effect, and smaller plants can be watered close to their crown. You need to ensure the ground doesn’t get soggy, as this can create issues like root rot or suffocation.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to water if the soil around your plants feels dry when you touch it and if the temperature isn’t below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, try to water when the wind isn’t blowing, as drying winds may carry some of the water you are trying to apply to the plant’s roots.
Getting Watering Right in the Winter Months
If you have an irrigation system, it’s not always smart to use this for watering your plants during the winter. That’s because the water that remains in the lines may freeze, causing serious damage and the need for expensive repairs.
If you need help with watering considerations for your plants this winter or need to have repairs or a winter blow out for your irrigation system, contact our team at The IDL Company. We can provide advice and repairs for winter watering and irrigation system protection.