Winter Watering Tips for North Texas Trees: The Complete Guide
Date October 24, 2022
As winter descends in North Texas, many homeowners rejoice in the cooler temperatures and festivities. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to forget about our trees. Watering your trees during the winter is essential to tree health, helping them survive harsh conditions and be better equipped to take advantage of the surge in spring growth. In this updated blog post, we’ll revisit the importance of winter tree watering and offer some helpful tree care tips so you can keep your trees healthy and hydrated this season.
Why Should I Water Trees in Winter?
Even dormant trees aren’t immune to cold, dry conditions and can quickly dehydrate without showing signs of stress. While you won’t see any new growth, tree root systems are still hard at work beneath the surface, continuing to develop and absorb water, oxygen, and nutrients necessary for plant health.
Soil acts as a barrier between your tree’s roots and harsh winter weather, while water works as an insulator for your tree and the soil. When soil is dry and cold, it loses its naturally insulating properties that protect your tree’s root system. Dry soil also freezes quicker, killing fine roots close to the surface responsible for sending water and nutrients to the tree.
Lastly, dry soil slows down decomposition, meaning that organic matter isn’t breaking down and enriching the soil with the necessary organisms and nutrients to maintain tree health. When decomposition stops due to a lack of water, the microorganisms in the soil die. The decomposition of organic matter and the presence of beneficial organisms are critical to long-term tree health.
Since much of the tree damage during the winter is associated with a lack of water, it’s essential to keep the roots and soil hydrated.
When Should I Water My Trees?
Since the biological process of trees is slowed during dormancy, they don’t need to be watered as frequently as they would during the growing season.
- Plan on watering your trees one to two times per month until they begin growing new leaves in spring.
- Water only when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is no snow or ice near your trees.
- Water in the morning so your trees have a chance to absorb it before the temperatures drop in the evening.
- Water when the soil is dry.
- Depending on soil conditions and whether the area is particularly windy, you may need to adjust your winter watering schedule.
How Do I Check if My Tree Needs Water?
You can easily check if your tree needs water by inserting a moisture meter or using your fingers. Using a gardening tool, dig a hole 2 inches deep, then move the tool back and forth to create a small, narrow trench. Then, use your finger to feel the soil. If it’s moist to the touch, your tree doesn’t need water. If it’s dry, then proceed with winter watering.
If you’re unsure how to water your tree correctly, or if you need support with winter tree care, reach out to an ISA Certified Arborist at (817) 592-6846 for expert advice and assistance.
How to Water North Texas Trees in Winter
While tree watering is essential year-round, there are some special considerations for watering during the winter. Following these simple tree watering tips ensures your efforts are effective and benefit your tree’s long-term health.
- Water low and slow. You want to allow the water to penetrate the soil instead of just sitting on the surface. The goal is for the water to go to a depth of at least a foot into the ground. If your soil is already dried out, allow plenty of time for water absorption, as dry soil tends to resist the water and runoff.
- A deep root watering probe can help get your trees the nutrients and water needed during the winter. Deep root watering injects water below the soil’s surface directly into the root zone. This ensures that the roots stay hydrated and the water doesn’t just sit on the surface or run off before it has a chance to get to the roots.
- You can also water deeply by using a spray nozzle attached to your garden hose and following these best practices for winter tree watering.
- Water out to the edge of the dripline or canopy edge, so all of your tree’s roots are adequately hydrated and receive an even, proper watering.
How to Water New Trees in Winter
Young or newly planted trees are vulnerable and highly susceptible to drought during the winter months. Ensuring they are hydrated through the summer and fall until the ground freezes will help their root systems develop during dormancy. When the ground freezes, water every couple of weeks when there is no snow on the ground. If your new tree doesn’t have an established drip line, use the edges of the root ball or the circumference of your mulch to guide where you should water.
TreeNewal Winter Tree Care
Winter tree care is critical to helping North Texas trees survive during dormancy and allowing them to thrive in the following seasons. Watering your trees during the winter is just one step in the right direction. It’s also the perfect time for tree trimming and pruning, treating your trees for iron chlorosis, and inspecting them for signs of insects and diseases. To help keep your trees healthy and prepared for the new year, call a TreeNewal Dallas tree care specialist at (817) 592-6846 today. Our dedicated team can give your trees everything they need to promote long-term tree health.
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