We are finally supposed to get some rain tonight but is 1/2″ to 3/4″ of an inch going to be enough?
For established trees? Yes.
For any trees or shrubs planted in the last few years? Questionable.
October and November continue to be drier than normal. We haven’t received the deep soaking rains that usually occur several times over these months. Coming on the heels of 4 years of area drought, it is especially important to water certain trees or shrubs going into the winter before the ground freezes.
Any tree or shrub that was added to your landscape in 2022 or 2023 are prime candidates.
When a tree is dug and balled and bur-lapped for sale, as much as 80% of the absorptive and water storage roots are cut off and left behind in the surrounding soil. As such, newly dug trees are trying to survive on 20% of their original root base until they regenerate those roots in the coming years. Obviously, this in and of itself stresses new plantings.
It takes one year for every inch of trunk diameter for roots to fully redevelop and have enough water storage capacity to support new plantings during drier times. Thoroughly wetting the ground going into winter helps to hydrate and reduce stress to newer plantings.
BOXWOOD, RHODODENDRON, EUONYMUS
AND SOME VARIETIES OF AZALEA…
Besides newer plantings, these are a few examples of established plants, considered evergreens, which are also important to hydrate because they retain their leaves all Winter long no matter how long they have been in the ground.
Evergreen plants that retain their leaves year round continue to transpire or give off moisture at a high rate during winter. Plants that drop their leaves in the Fall are referred to as deciduous and transpire at a much lower rate.
Evergreens that go into the winter overly dry can’t replace their transpired moisture on warmer days. This can cause brown, damaged leaves and even plant death the following year. Boxwood shrubs are famous for this.
OTHER EVERGREEN VARIETIES SUCH AS
WHITE PINE, SPRUCE, SCOTCH, AUSTRIAN, FIR AND HEMLOCK
These trees also retain their needles all year but they typically stand up better to wintery conditions because their needles have a waxy coating that helps them retain internal moisture. As such, it is not as important to water them if they are established but if recently planted in 2022 or 2023, they too should be hydrated going into the Winter.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.