Watering trees and shrubs in autumn and winter is a balancing act

2021-12-13 19:08:21 By : Ms. SUNPN SUNPN

There was not much rain or snow in the past month, and your trees and shrubs may need to be watered. However, water should only be watered when the temperature is above 40°F. Daily Herald Archive Photo

After the summer drought in Illinois this year, monitoring soil moisture and watering the trees and shrubs entering the winter are more important than ever. If supplemental water is not provided, dry conditions in late autumn, dry air and low soil moisture can cause plant damage.

"If the soil is dry, homeowners should consider watering trees and shrubs this fall and winter," said Gemini Bhalsod, an extension gardening educator at the University of Illinois.

Plants under water stress are more susceptible to insects and diseases. They may also be injured by roots or leaves.

Before watering, check the soil moisture. The moisture content is monitored approximately once a week. Dig a small hole under the drip line of the tree, 4 to 6 inches is enough. Feel hydrated. If the soil is dry, the tree should be watered.

"In the long run, this continued effort will pay off," Balsod said.

In particular, new trees, shrubs, and perennials planted in autumn should be monitored and watered late in the season because they do not have enough time to develop a broad root system like anything planted in spring.

Pay attention to evergreen trees and shallow-rooted trees, such as birches and maples. Some shallow-rooted trees can be identified by breaking the roots on the soil surface. Evergreen trees do not enter a dormant state in winter, they are still actively breathing and losing water through their needles.

Dormant trees breathe at a lower rate. Since the soil insulates and cools later than the temperature in the year, after deciduous, the roots remain warm for a longer time and the respiration rate is higher than that of the above-ground parts, trunks and branches of deciduous trees.

Water only when the temperature is above 40°F. In some places, this may be until the end of December at the latest. Stop re-watering when the ground freezes, because the trees cannot absorb water through the frozen ground at this time.

To water, use a soaking hose to provide a slow flow of water. The soil should be moist, but not water. This method can reduce runoff and water is more easily absorbed by the root zone. Bhalsod said: "If your hose is put away and your tree or shrub is small, then pour water slowly, or drill a 1/8-inch hole in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket and fill it with water. ."

Water at the drip line of the tree, not against the bottom. In order to save water, first plant new trees and shrubs every week, and then plant big trees and mature trees once a month during dry periods.

Avoid fertilization, which will stimulate late-season growth, and mulch should be considered. Covering can help keep moisture in the winter. Cover about 2 to 4 inches from the root of the tree to the drip line in the shape of a donut around the trunk, leaving a space of 2 to 4 inches in between.

As always, planting hardy species or cultivars with deep roots is best because they are more likely to survive temperature fluctuations and long periods of cold.