Today is January 28th, and I went mountain biking last Saturday and Thursday. Our trails are dry and I’m asking myself, “When is the last time it snowed in town?” Snow acts as insulation for our plants and trees. Since we don’t have any snow cover, and we haven’t had any moisture in form of precipitation or snow for at least a month, it might be a good idea to give your trees some water.

Colorado is known for weather that changes frequently. Fortunately we have resilient plants, trees and shrubs that are able to bounce back from dry conditions from stores of food energy in their root systems. Yet, other plants are weakened by dry conditions which result in the spread of disease and insect infestation. Did you plant any new perennials, shrubs or trees in the fall of 2013? Newly planted perennials and trees are especially vulnerable right now. The soil freezes and thaws when we have dry spells, and that opens up cracks in the soil. Herbaceous perennials, groundcovers and shrub roots are exposed to cold temperatures, dry air and wind. Get out in your garden, say hello to your plants and water if necessary. Here are some helpful tips:

When do I water?

Water mid-day when air temperatures are above 40 degrees. It’s important to allow for enough time for the water to soak in which prevents the water from freezing at night.

How much water for each tree?

Here is an easy equation to figure out how much water your tree needs: 10 gallons of H2O for each inch of diameter of the tree. To measure the diameter of a tree, measure six inches up the trunk with a ruler, then measure across the trunk parallel to the ground. For example: A newly planted 1″ caliper tree needs 10 gallons of H2O every time you water.  I use a five gallon bucket to measure out how much water.

green mountain sugar maple

How often should I water?

Twice a month depending on weather conditions.  Please make sure to check the forecast! Remember that I am located in Durango, CO and you might need to adjust your watering regimen according to your specific location.

Do I need to water all my plants and trees?

Not necessarily. Check your beds that receive reflected heat from buildings, walls or fences. These particular microclimates can dry out more quickly than other locations on your property. Keep an eye on south and west exposures because these areas can get nuked by the low angle of the sun’s rays.

reflected heat 2

nuke a rama

south facing bed

Below is an example of a bed I wouldn’t water right now.

snow cover

Trees, shrubs and perennials are an investment and it’s definitely worth the extra effort to make sure that we pay attention to them even during the winter months. Plus, it’s been gorgeous outside, so who doesn’t want to be in their gardens right now? Think snow!

 

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