Few people realize that trees are actually very active during the winter months. If the ground doesn’t become frozen solid, tree roots are very active and will grow during these “dormant” months. Watering in winter, especially if the season has been mild or dry, allows moisture and nutrients to reach these developing roots and may keep the tree from drying out during warm and windy spells during the winter.
To determine if your trees need to be watered in the winter, ask yourself these questions:
Has The Winter Been Snowy?
If the winter has been experiencing a lot of snowfall, you won’t necessarily have to water as the melting snow will keep the soil moist enough that the tree may not need to be watered.
If the season has been dry and snow-free, your will benefit from a watering that will help prevent root damage. Be sure to water within the tree’s drip line so the roots can better take advantage of the moisture.
Is Your Tree Newly Transplanted?
If your tree is newly transplanted, it will benefit from a thorough watering when the soil is dry. The root system of young transplants are smaller and the tree is more sensitive to drought.
Are There Browning Needles?
Evergreens can easily dry out during extended dry periods during the winter since they lose moisture through the surface of green needles, even on cold winter days. Prevent dry soils with pre-emptive watering during warmer days. Once the soil becomes too dry, the needles will brown and fall from the stressed tree. Watering at that point may be too late if stress is severe.
Snow melt and salts can increase needle browning by disrupting water movement through cell tissues in the tree roots. If salt has been used recently around your browning trees, watering them with a long soaking will help flush the salt away from the roots. Consider using salt alternatives or consider applying only the minimum amount of salt needed.
Check Soil Moisture To Avoid Overwatering
Depending on the soil type, use your finger to check soil moisture. If the soil is too hard, try using a screwdriver to monitor soil moisture.
Hansen’s Can Help
At Hansen’s Tree Service, we want you to have trees that are happy and healthy all year round. By scheduling a hassle free estimate and even a plant health care consultation, you are taking charge of your tree’s health. A professional ISA certified arborist will come to your home and discuss your tree’s needs with you and if they could benefit from watering in winter.