Trees are an essential part of the outdoor landscape and provide a foundation for the soil through their roots. As the temperature drops in winter, it is important to make sure that trees are taken care of to ensure their health. In this blog, we will explore the question of whether trees need water in winter and what steps gardeners can take to help their trees survive the harsh winter weather.
When autumn arrives, trees start to slow down in preparation for the colder winter temperatures. Some species, such as oak and maple, show bright autumn colors before shedding their leaves, which helps them conserve energy during the dormant season. Trees require less energy and water in winter, but they still need some support to survive. Trees prepare for winter water needs by collecting excess sugar produced in the warm summer months and expelling excess water from their cells. This process helps prevent water from freezing and causing damage to the cells when the temperature drops. If the temperature rises and thaws, the cells will reabsorb water to retain it, ensuring that the trees have enough water to start growing again in the spring.
However, in some cases, trees may need additional water in winter, especially if they are facing drought conditions. If your area has experienced a dry summer and autumn, the trees in your garden may need extra water throughout the winter. In dry conditions, dry air and soil make it difficult for trees to absorb enough water through their roots or leaves. To help trees survive, it is essential to provide them with deep and thorough watering before the ground freezes. However, it is important to water your trees only when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the temperature reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you can start watering your trees, but only at noon. This allows the ground and air to warm up in the morning and gives the soil time to absorb the water before the temperature drops at night. Gardeners should water their trees once or twice a month until spring arrives. To test if the soil is too dry or wet enough, you can insert a screwdriver about 18 inches into the soil. If the screwdriver is easy to insert, the soil is wet enough, and no additional watering is needed. If the screwdriver is stuck, the soil is dry and needs watering. After watering, you can also add additional protection to the tree by covering the bottom of the tree with a cover.
In conclusion, trees may need water in winter, especially if they are facing drought conditions. Gardeners should only water their trees when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and they should water their trees once or twice a month until spring arrives. It is important to take the time to properly care for your trees in winter, so they are healthy and ready to grow when spring comes. Whether you have a large garden or a small raised bed, taking care of your trees will help ensure their health and beauty for many years to come.