WATER YOUR TREES (and Shrubs and Perennials) 

  by Louise Conner, HAS Trustee

Photo Credit:  bluebudgie at Pixabay

 We can’t stress enough the need to water trees and shrubs when we’ve had so little snow this winter. The following information is from CPR News (cpr.org).Focus on the most vulnerable treesJim Klett, a horticulturist at Colorado State University, said not all trees face the same threat from drought and dry weather. Any trees planted within the last three years should be first in line for the hose, according to Klett. Evergreen trees should be watered next since their needles continue to demand water over the winter.”With all the foliage on them, they’re going to desiccate and dry out very quickly. So evergreens are even more critical than deciduous trees,” he said.Finally, he recommends watering any trees with shallow root systems like birches, maples, lindens, alders, hornbeams, dogwoods, willows and mountain ashes.Wait until the weather warms upKlett advises only watering trees when temperatures rise above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Mid-day watering will allow the moisture to soak into the roots before freezing temperatures at night.Provide the right amount of waterPay attention to the thickness of the trunk. When trying to figure out how much to water, Klett said to apply 10 gallons of water for every inch of trunk diameter. For example, a 3-inch tree would get about 30 gallons about every three weeks.It’s a mistake to pour all the water directly against the base of the trunk, Klett said. Instead, he recommends watering along the “drip line,” which is the area beneath a tree’s farthest-reaching branches.”You probably want to water there, because that’s where most of the feeder roots are for the tree,” he said.Mulch it goodKlett recommends applying mulch around trees to conserve soil moisture. If the ground gets dry enough to crack, the extra layer can also help protect tree roots from cold, dry air.
  Watering Shrubs and Perennials Much of this information comes from the Colorado Extension Service Fact Sheet:   http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/fall-and-winter-watering-7-211/Water when the temperature is 40 degrees or above. Water in mid-day so that water has a chance to soak into the ground before the temperature drops below freezing.

Shrubs, including roses, and fruiting varieties, need five gallons for a small shrub (less than three feet), and 18 gallons for a large shrub (more than six feet) on a monthly basis from October through March. If they are newly planted, increase to  twice monthly using these same amounts at each watering.

Perennials that have been planted in the fall have less time to establish than those planted in spring, so they could use a bit of water during warm dry winters.  Also water bulb plantings to be sure they do not dry out as they are trying to form roots.