Well we had a little moisture a few weeks ago but we are still dry. It is dry enough now with little to no moisture in the forecast to consider watering young trees and evergreens in your lawn and landscape.
Young or newly planted trees are much more susceptible to drought injury during the winter months. Make sure they are well watered through the summer and fall up until the ground freezes, and water every couple of weeks during the winter when there is no snow cover.
Evergreen trees (like pine, juniper and spruce, etc.) lose water through their needles in the dry winter air, so they need more stored-up water going into the winter season to make up for it. Cold, dry winds can actually strip water from Evergreens faster than their roots can absorb it. Although all perennial plants benefit from moist soils before winter, it is especially important for newly planted trees and shrubs due to limited root systems. Even trees and shrubs planted within the last 2 to 3 years are more sensitive to drought than a well-established plant. Evergreens are also more at risk because moisture is lost from the foliage through the winter. That’s why it’s especially important to provide a sufficient water supply in the fall, and water during dry spells during the winter.
Water only when the temperature is above 40 degrees F and there is no snow or ice on the ground near your trees. Water early in the day, so the plants have time to absorb it before the temperature drops lower at night.
Trees like their water slow and deep. Newly planted trees will require more frequent watering. You can check soil moisture by using a garden trowel and inserting it into the ground to a depth of 2″, and then move the blade of the trowel back and forth to create a small narrow trench. Then touch the soil with your finger. If it is moist to the touch, then they do not need water.
Be careful to apply water all the way out to the edge of the tree’s root spread. Most established trees have a root spread equal to their height. Water deeply with a soaker hose, if possible, and avoid spraying on foliage if watering an evergreen tree.
While it may seem counterintuitive to get out the hose when everything around you is brown and gray, it’s critical to keep your trees alive and healthy. Don’t ignore your trees this winter. Keep watering them and see how they thank you with a beautiful show in the spring.