In a previous post, we gave you some tips on keeping your lawn healthy through the winter. We decided to expand on the winter watering portion of that post. Winters like the 2016-2017 season show us just how important winter watering really is to help your lawn and plants survive into the following season.
In Colorado, the key season for winter watering extends from mid-October to late-March, when your irrigation system is winterized. This is when the the coldest weather is common, and long dry stretches can occur – weakening plant health significantly. It is common for our weather to swing from 20ºF and snowing one day, to 60ºF and sunny the next. It is critical on warm days to get out and water your turf and plants. This will help prevent root damage and sun scalding, which impacts the whole health of your plants. Although plants may appear to be fine the next spring, when hotter temperatures come in June and July, they tend to die out. Additionally, damaged plants and turf are more susceptible to insect and disease issues. This past year, we saw higher-than-normal “ inter die-off” across Colorado Springs; without much snow or moisture on the ground, plants were weakened, and winter mites damaged significant areas of turf. Winter watering is the best way to prevent mites, disease and winter die-off from destroying your turf and plants!
New plantings (plants, sod, and seedings) within the past year are especially prone to winter damage because they are not fully established. Winter watering will help preserve these plants and ensure that you did not waste your money.
When to Water
Water on warm days when there have been multiple days of sunshine and the temperature has been above 40 degrees. If the ground is still frozen, water will not penetrate, and you will be left with an icy lawn, possibly causing additional damage to your plants.
Trees: 10 gallons for each diameter inch of the tree (for example – 3” caliper tree needs 30 gallons per watering). Measure the trunk about 6 inches above the ground. Try to soak the tree slowly (think hours, not minutes, for watering time).
New Shrubs: 5 gallons, 2x/month
Established Shrubs: Small (less than 3 feet) – 5 gallons/month, Large (more than 6 ft) 18 gallons/month
Turf: 1-2 times per month depending on amount of snowfall. Water mid-day so that the water has time to soak in before freezing temperatures hit again
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