Last updated on January 21st, 2020
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Winter weather gets cold, and all you have is snow and ice outside, you might be wondering whether you should continue watering your plants. In many areas, watering your plants through the winter is still a good idea, especially if your plants are rather young but it has to be done the right way. Even if the weather is cold, assuming your plants have the right level of protection you will still need to give them a drink, especially if you also have evergreen plants in containers.
Below you will find our top 6 winter watering tips that explain not only the best time to water your garden, but how.
Always water if there is a period of time without rain and the soil becomes dry
If you don’t get much rain for a period of time or it’s fairly windy which dries out the soil and draws moisture from the plant’s foliage, we recommend you absolutely water your plants in the winter but only if they need it. Even though your plants are in a dormant stage and not actively growing, they’re not dead; they’re basically just resting. When in dormancy plants still have essential metabolic functions, and those functions only work if the roots can collect water from the soil. If you don’t water in the winter the roots tend to dry out and that’s what causes damage to your plants.
Water early in the day when the ground is not frozen
Don’t worry about injuring the roots because of freezing temperatures. Instead, water your plants early in the day so that they have time to absorb the water before the temperatures dropped into freezing conditions at night. Remember that the soil functions as a trap for heat so long as it’s properly watered and having properly watered and soil helps your plants to remain a slight bit warmer when it gets cold outside. If you have insulated covers like horticultural fleece around your plants, that extra level of heat can go a long way toward protecting your plants from any damage in the winter.
Don’t overwater to avoid root rot
Giving the right amount of water is equally important. When your plants are in dormancy, they don’t need as much water as they do in the spring and summer, but you should still be watering them deeply a few times each month. If you have trees or any larger shrubs, you should water them between the drip line and the trunk. Any smaller plants can be watered right next to the crown. The trick here is to make sure that the ground doesn’t get soggy but instead just gets a little wet. If it gets soggy, it ends up suffocating the plant because of root rot.
Only water when the soil is dry to touch
You should only water when the soil gets dry to the touch. You can help prevent root rot by making sure you test the soil before you water with a moisture soil tester if needed.
Only water when the weather is mild, above 4 degrees
Do not water when the temperatures are below four degrees Celsius. This will go a long way toward helping prevent freezing temperatures from adversely affecting your plants.
Don’t water on windy days
Avoid watering when the wind is blowing. Drying wind can blow away a lot of the water that you want to be absorbed by the roots. So try to avoid watering when the wind is heavy.
Following these tips will help you to keep your plants healthy during their dormant stage in the winter so that they can return in full bloom come spring.