Did you know that on average it takes 10 inches of snow to equal 1 inch of rain?!
This means that snowfall simply does not provide the water necessary for plant material over the winter months. All plants, newly planted trees and shrubs in particular, run the risk of frost damage or death without winter watering. Keeping the soil moist will keep roots from drying out, which prevents root loss and die back. Days over 40 degrees provide a great opportunity to get out your hose and begin winter watering your grass, trees, and shrubs. Pay special attention to evergreens as they are more susceptible to winter dry-out.
Purchase a Moisture Meter
Moisture meters are available at local garden centers and hardware stores and will help you determine if additional moisture is needed. Consider purchasing one with a 6-12 inch probe as you will want to check moisture at the root level.
Water 2x Per Month
A good rule of thumb is to water your turf, trees, and other plants 2 times per month over the winter months, especially when we receive less than 2 inches of snow. Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees with no snow cover.
Water at mid-day to give plants time to absorb moisture before freezing overnight.
We recommend adopting “cycle and soak” where water is turned on for a period, then turned off to soak into the soil, and repeated. This lessens waste-water due to run-off and is especially important when the ground is frozen. Utilize a hose and portable sprinkler for grass and shrub beds.
Other Important Info
Do not turn on your irrigation system over winter as this can lead to frozen pipes and costly repairs. Disconnect and drain your hoses after each use to avoid damage from freezing temperatures.