Proctor’s Gardening Suggestions: Winter watering

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Long periods of drought in autumn and winter lead to injury or death of parts of the root system of trees, shrubs and perennials.

DENVER – yes it is cold and it is still necessary to water. One thing we often forget when the temperature gets this cold is winter watering.

Because Colorado experiences dry air, low rainfall, and large temperature fluctuations, watering in winter is critical to the success of our gardens in spring.

Long periods of drought in autumn and winter lead to injury or death of parts of the root system of trees, shrubs and perennials.

Newly planted gardens and lawns that are still establishing themselves need additional water if Mother Nature does not cooperate and provides us with snow or rain. For example, it can take up to a year for a newly planted tree to develop its root system, and water is vital to this process.

Water when it’s over 40 degrees and when the ground isn’t frozen. Noon watering is best to give the water time to soak before it potentially freezes at night.

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Some areas on the east and north sides of my garden are still under a small blanket of snow or ice, so these areas are fine. However, the gardens, which are exposed to the sun all day, need to be watered every day in winter.

My south-facing gardens receive heat that is reflected from the house, walls, and fences, while the north side is exposed to our drying winter winds.

Keep track of your soil and how much rainfall we are receiving through March. If a month goes by and we haven’t received decent snow or rain, watering once or twice a month.

Winter watering is a love job, this is not the time to turn on your sprinklers. Use a hose, watering can, or bucket. Disconnect the hoses and drain them when you’re done.

Watering in winter is a bit like washing your car this time of year. As soon as you do, it will snow the next day.

> For more information on winter irrigation, visit the Colorado State University Extension website.

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