Summer is a tough time in Northern Colorado. Some years, rain comes often. Others, however, rain might be hard to come by. Because of the historic fluctuations in precipitation that we experience, cities all over Northern Colorado have created water regulations that clearly define when your sprinklers should be on and for how long that they should be on in an effort to save water and maximize the absorption into the ground. 

As tree service professionals serving Northern Colorado, we have begun to notice that people don’t really have an issue determining when and how often to water their trees, shrubs, and lawn. In the fall and winter months, however, homeowners are not as sure how they should manage or tweak their watering schedules. 

In today’s blog your local certified arborists, here at Schra Tree Care, will be discussing some of the fall and winter watering habits that you should employ in the upcoming months.

Watering Guidelines

In Northern Colorado and many other parts of the state, little soil moisture and low precipitation are expected during fall and winter months. Combined with the low soil moisture and precipitation, temperatures might fluctuate between extremes for a couple of months as the sun provides heat during the day and temperatures steeply drop as soon as the sun falls. 

Unlike summer months, it is extremely important to consider the temperature changes before watering your lawn, shrubs, and trees. In fact, according to the Colorado State University Extension Office, watering should only be done when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, the ideal time for you to water your plants and trees shifts to mid-day so that the water has time to seep into the soil and be absorbed by your trees, shrubs, and lawn before the sun goes down and the possibility of the water freezing rises. 

At-Risk Plants

During the winter, plants become much more susceptible to damages. During fall and winter months, precipitation declines greatly and Northern Colorado often sees extended dry periods. Because of lack of moisture during fall and winter months, some plants become at risk of root damage. Grass, shrubs, and trees like birches, maples, lindens, willows and other plants with shallow root systems are at risk of drought injury — otherwise known as injuries sustained by the plant because it did not have proper water and nutrient stores before becoming affected by the lack of moisture or extremely low temperatures.

While our team of tree service professionals specialize in tree care, we also know a thing or two about shrubs and other herbaceous plants — all of which are are also at-risk during the fall and winter months. Due to the cold temperatures and dry conditions, it is not uncommon for soil to freeze and crack — exposing and damaging the roots. Luckily, light winter watering and the application of an insulated barrier like mulch can keep soil from becoming dangerously dry and cold. 

Newly Planted Plants vs. Established Plants

While all trees, shrubs, and grasses are at risk during the fall and winter months, it is important to recognize that newly planted plants are significantly more at risk of injury than plants that are established. But how do you know what plant is or isn’t established? 

Generally speaking, the time it takes for a plant to establish is directly related to the diameter of the plant’s trunk or stalk. Because of this, smaller plants and trees tend to become established quicker than a tree might. So if you have recently planted a beautiful maple tree with a two-inch trunk, it will likely take the tree two years before it becomes established and is less at risk to the elements thrown at it by fall and winter. 

Watering Trees In Fall & Winter Months

When you are watering trees, regardless of the season, it is important to make sure that water can slowly seep 12 inches down into the soil. Watering can be done using a variety of methods ranging from a simple sprinkler setup to deep root watering from your local tree service professionals, here at Schra Tree Care. In order to determine how much water should be used, it is important to use around 10 gallons of water per inch of the tree’s diameter. 

Watering Shrubs In Fall & Winter Months

While trees can take multiple years to become established, shrubs usually take about a year before they can be considered established. Because of this, shrubs are generally easier to take care of during fall and winter months than trees. 

As a homeowner, one of the best things that you can do to protect your shrubs is to apply moisture-retaining mulch around the base of the tree and water the shrubs using five to 15 gallons of water per month.

Watering Note: For both trees and shrubs, the most important thing that you can remember is to water them during midday on a day where the temperature is over 40 degrees Fahrenheit so that the water has a chance to be absorbed before it freezes. 

For Any Questions Or Tree Care Needs, Contact Schra Tree Care

Northern Colorado has a variable climate from season to season. Because of that, there is no one watering schedule that can be used all year. In order to keep your trees, shrubs, and grass healthy, it is important to correctly adjust your watering techniques in response to the season, type of plant, and size of the plant.

Look, we get it. Tree care can be confusing. Lucky for you, Schra Tree Care is here to help you with all of your tree service needs from watering to pruning and even tree removal.  

If you have any questions about watering your trees, shrubs, and grass this upcoming fall and winter, we urge you to get in touch with us. Are you simply looking for someone to take care of your trees for you? Schedule a free consultation today.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you care for your trees and shrubs. 


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