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?
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.