The hot weather as well as our growing and watering season is about to end, and it is about time to blow out the sprinkler lines.
In the Front Range, dry air, little soil moisture and fluctuating temperatures are common during fall and winter, and it’s rare to have snow cover for a prolonged period of time. Since we often have very little rain and snow during the winter, that doesn’t mean trees and shrubs don’t need water again until next spring. The following are a few tips to help you have a healthy and beautiful landscape for years to come:
» Established trees and shrubs should be watered every four weeks in winter if there is no snow cover or natural precipitation. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered every two weeks throughout fall and winter.
» Pay special care to evergreens as their needles continue to lose water throughout the entire year.
» Severe drought stress can affect plant growth, health and vigor for years. Winter injury usually results in death of fine root hairs, which absorb water and nutrients. Plants may also be weakened, resulting in increased disease and insect problems. You may see symptoms of branch dieback or greater needle loss for several years after a drought.
» After your sprinkler systems have been blown out, continue to water your landscape regularly until the ground freezes. Once cold temperatures set in, aim to water once per month if monthly precipitation doesn’t amount to greater than an inch of water (about 8-12 inches of snow).
» Water plants only when daytime temperatures are above 40 degrees. Apply water during the middle of the day so plants have time to soak up water before possible freezing at night.
» Plants near the foundation of the home or fences are more susceptible to injury due to reflected heat and intense sunlight. These plants may also break dormancy earlier and push growth in early spring, which can be injured from cold temperatures.
» As a general rule of thumb for trees, apply 10 gallons of water for each inch of trunk diameter. For example, if the tree has a three inch diameter trunk, 30 gallons of water are needed at each watering.
» Winter watering is usually not necessary for established lawns. However, newly planted lawns (started within the last year) are more susceptible to winter injury. If the winter is especially dry, water your lawn in early spring to avoid mite injury.
» Make note on a calendar when rain and snow fall. Remember that any water is beneficial to your plants, even if you cannot keep a rigorous schedule.
» For more information on winter and fall watering, visit the CSU Extension website at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ and search for Fact Sheets 7.199 “Watering Established Lawns” and 7.211 “Fall and Winter Watering.”
» Visit the Town of Windsor website at www.windsorgov.com/forestry for information on recommended trees for Windsor, tree and landscape standards, and forestry related community events.
Alison O’Connor and Bill and Mary Monroe, Windsor Tree Board