Watering Plants During Winter


When the weather outside is dangerously cold and snow is covering the land as far as the eye can see. Many gardeners wonder if they should continue to water their plants. In many places, where the area sees less snow and ice during the winter, watering is a good idea, especially if you have young plants that are just establishing themselves in your garden. Watering plants during winter is recommended, just far less than usual.

Water Below, Not Above

Supplemental winter watering is vital if you are not prone to heavy snow or ice. Your plants are dormant, yet they’re not dead-during dormancy. Plants still have some basic metabolic functions that can only be driven with water collected from the soil. Roots have a tendency to drying in the winter, causing permanent damage to perennials.

Watering plants near freezing temperatures may sound crazy, however the newly wet soil will not freeze and injure roots. With covers for protection against the wind and ice, as well as watering early in the day, the water you give your plants can actually be protective against night time freezing. The water traps heat and helps the area around your plant stay a little bit warmer than the air around your plant. When coupled with insulated covers, this extra heat can protect your plants from damage.

How Much Water?

Just like Sod or turf grass, during winter your plants won’t need as much water during their dormancy as would in the spring and summer months. Be sure to water them deeply a few times a month.

Trees and larger landscape perennials should be watered between the trunk and the drip line for best results. Smaller plants can be watered near their crowns. but make sure that the ground doesn’t stay soggy. Over watering cause a hazard for plants from root rot as well as suffocation.  As a rule of thumb,

  • Water when the soil is dry to the touch.
  • The temperature is not below 40 F. (4 C.)
  • The wind isn’t blowing if possible. Winds can dry out the water faster.

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Special Care and Watering New Sod

new sod grass watering tipsSod installation is an excellent way to improve the appearance and health of your yard. It also represents a significant investment, so you want to be sure you do everything just right to ensure the success of your new grass. In this article, we will share some smart tips for special care and watering of new sod.

Before laying out your new sod you must carefully prepare the area where it will go. Begin by tilling the soil to a depth of approximately five inches. Smooth the soil and make sure that the surface angles downhill from your home. This will prevent having water back up around and under your foundation when you water and/or when it rains. If there are low spots in the soil, fill them in with some sandy loam. Once all this is done, add an application of slow release fertilizer. Don’t water the soil at this point. Wait until after you have laid the sod.

Sod Watering Tips

When you do put your sod in place, you should water it within half an hour of putting the first piece in place. This may mean you will need to do your sod laying in shifts or keep a sprinkler running as you work to water along behind you as you go. Your first watering should be very generous. You should have a sprinkler set on low watering each area for a couple of hours before moving on. An underground irrigation system will make this initial watering much easier and much more thorough because it will make it possible to deliver water at a higher gallon per minute (GPM) rate than simply using a sprinkler.

Once your sod laying is all done, you should continue to keep your new sod well-watered. Early morning watering is best. Watch closely to make sure your sod does not dry out. If your area is very hot and dry, you may need to follow up with an afternoon watering. Follow this generous watering schedule for the first couple of weeks or until you are sure the sod has firmly gripped the soil. Once this happens, you can reduce your watering schedule to alternating days.

Mowing on Sod

Once your grass has taken root, you can start mowing with a push mower. Do not use a riding mower until your grass has been in place for several months and is very well established. You should mow fairly high and infrequently at first. Don’t remove more than a third of the grass blade, and only mow every couple of weeks until the grass is fully established.

Related Resources:

Selecting Sod in Texas

Frisco Sod Grass

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