Should You Water Trees in the Winter?

Trees go dormant in winter, where they shed their leaves and look lifeless. For this reason, you might find yourself asking, “Should you water trees in the winter?”

While nothing much may be going on with your tree during the winter, the tree is usually active below the ground to maintain the chemical processes that control dormancy. Since the tree roots and internal functions are still working, you must ensure the tree gets adequate water and oxygen. 

As Milton’s reliable tree service company, we’ll delve deeper into winter watering to help ensure your trees remain healthy during dormancy. 

should you water trees in the winter

Do Dormant Trees Suffer Dehydration?

The simple answer is yes. Even though your tree isn’t producing new leaves or flowers when dormant, it’s still using oxygen and water. What’s more, its root system and internal functions are still active. The truth is that ensuring your trees have sufficient water in the fall and through the winter promotes healthy growth. 

It’s worth noting that dormancy is a result of reduced sunlight hours and extremely low winter temperatures. You shouldn’t worry about disturbing your backyard trees when you water during this period. 

How Winter Watering Helps Your Trees

The soil gets cold and dry during winter, and this interferes with its natural insulating properties, which also protect the root system. Dry soil freezes faster, leading to the death of fine roots near the surface. Sadly, these roots play a critical role in supplying nutrients and water from the soil to other parts of the tree.

Additionally, dry soil leads to slow decomposition. Consequently, organic matter won’t break down and enrich your soil. When decomposition stops due to insufficient water, the soil organisms responsible for the process will also die or migrate to areas with better conditions. 

To avoid the detrimental effects of dry conditions, it pays to water your trees properly during winter. Here are some of the trees that will often need supplemental watering during the prolonged dry winter periods:

  • Alder 
  • European white and paper birch
  • Linden
  • Dogwood
  • Norway, silver, red, Rocky Mountain, and hybrid maple
  • Willow
  • Hornbeam
  • Spruce
  • Mountain ash
  • Yew
  • Fir
  • Boxwood
  • Manhattan euonymus
  • Oregon grape-holly
  • Arborvitae

Tips To Ensure Proper Winter Watering

Should you water trees in the winter? Doing this correctly will help keep your mature and newly planted trees healthy. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

  • Water your trees only when temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and there’s no snow cover. 
  • Water at mid-day, so the water gets enough time to soak in before the soil freezes at night. 
  • It’s best to water one or two times a month in winter. 
  • Generally, you should supply 10 gallons of water for every inch of the tree’s diameter, measured from six inches above ground level. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

Should you water trees in the winter? If you need more help with this question, talk to the experts at Georgia Tree Company. Contact us at 979-824-0325 for a free estimate or to learn how to tell if a tree is sick.

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