Fall and Winter Watering in Colorado

Posted by gardensoul on January - 2 - 2013

Dry conditions

Fall 2012 was especially warm and dry.  Hopefully you watered at least monthly, focusing in on trees and perennials.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40º F with no snow cover.
  • Established large trees have a root spread equal to or greater than the height of the tree. Apply water to the most critical part of the root zone within the dripline.
  • A layer of mulch around shrubs and trees will prevent damage from the cracks formed with alternate freezing and thawing soil

Which plants need winter watering?

Woody plants with shallow root systems; maples, birch, lindens, alder, hornbeams, dogwood, willows, and mountain ash.  Evergreen trees and shrubs; spruce, fir, arborvitae, yew, Oregon grape-holly, boxwood, and Manhattan euonymus. And don’t forget your roses.

How much water should I apply?

Trees need moisture applied slowly to a depth of 12 inches. Apply 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree. Shrubs need less water; newly planted need 5 gallons 2x / month, established under 3 feet need 5 gallons / month and large shrubs (> 6 feet) need 18 gallons / month. If you receive snow, decrease water amounts proportionally.

How far from the trunk (trees) or trunks (shrubs) do I water?

Trees: apply water to many locations under the dripline and beyond if possible. Shrubs: water within the dripline of the shrub and around the base.

Let’s hope we get lots of snow this winter so you can forget winter watering!