Sunday, January 13, 2013

water your trees in the winter

I've been writing about how to protect your trees and shrubs from the harsh winter conditions.  Yesterday I discussed how well-drained soil helps your tree in the winter.  If you didn't read that post you can find it here.

Today, let's discuss water. You still need to water your trees in the winter.  During winter, the drying winds and lack of running water can create drought-like conditions. Broadleaf evergreens, such as hollies and azaleas, are especially susceptible to dehydration.  These trees lose moisture through the pores in the undersides of their leaves. Once the ground freezes, the roots can’t absorb any more water to replace that moisture.

The problem occurs when the tree or shrub hasn’t stored enough water to last through winter.  This will result in the tree drying out.  It can dry out so much that it drops its leaves or in the worst case scenario it even dies. To prevent this from happening, keep watering your trees and shrubs right up until the ground freezes. That way, they can absorb enough water to last all winter.

Another option is an antidessicant.  To give your evergreens even more protection, you can spray them with an antidessicant. This gives the trees a waxy coating that covers the pores on the leaves and thereby sealing in the moisture. Two applications should be all that is necessary.  I suggest one application in late fall and another in early February.  This should provide enough protection for your plants so that the drying winds from winter won't even faze your trees.

Tomorrow we'll discuss the benefits of mulch during the winter.  

Thanks for reading,
Nick

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