Winter Watering Wisdom: Keeping Your Plants Thriving Through the Chill
In this month's blog, we'll cover the basics of winter watering. While watering during winter might not be top of mind, it's crucial to ensure your plants are adequately hydrated. With irrigation systems typically shut off in late fall to prevent freezing, all winter watering needs to be done manually.
During the spring and fall, plants' root systems experience rapid growth, making watering and fertilizing essential for their health. Neglecting watering, also known as drought stress, can disrupt this growth process and hinder your plants from reaching their full potential. First-year plants are particularly vulnerable to drought stress, so extra care is needed.
If you have an irrigation system, a general rule for most plants and yards is to water three times a week. To smoothly transition from summer to winter watering, gradually adjust the watering schedule. For instance, water once every 4 or 5 days in the fall, then every 7-10 days after the first freeze, and from mid-November through January, water once every two to four weeks, depending on snowfall. Remember, it takes about 10-12 inches of snowfall to equal one inch of water, so light snowfall won't suffice for regular watering.
Ensure each watering session thoroughly soaks every plant. Create a well around each plant (known as a posa) using dirt, roughly matching the width of the plant's dripline. Fill each posa with water, allowing it to absorb, and repeat until the top 12-18" of soil is moist. This ensures proper moisture for your plants. Remember to disconnect and drain the hose after each use. As a rule of thumb, avoid watering cacti during winter months.
Keep in mind that this information serves as a general guide. Your yard's microclimate, including factors like sun exposure, shade, wind, soil type, and individual plant needs, will ultimately determine its water requirements. Adjust your watering regimen accordingly to ensure your yard thrives.