“Why should I bother watering in the winter? Isn’t the snowfall enough?”
This is a question we hear a good deal from new residents unused to the high plains desert Colorado is largely composed of. Sure, you water in our dry summers, but as the weather turns and the snow begins to fall, you shouldn’t really need to have that garden hose out in the cold, right? Your tree and shrubs are still green and healthy-looking, and take a gander at the forests – those trees are doing just great year round with just what nature provides them, year after year. What does it matter, ultimately?
It’s a complex set of questions with several answers. Let’s get some of them out of the way.
It’s key to grasp how trees work and utilize water in any season, and what you can do to help keep your trees healthy and stress free in our specific climate.
First: it has to be remembered that Colorado snowfall averages about 12-15:1, meaning that at our typical snow temperatures, 12 to 15 inches of snowfall is usually equivalent to one inch of rain (or even less). And since much of our snowfall sublimates into the dry air as opposed to melting into groundwater, what makes it into a tree’s root system can be minimal indeed.
Second: forest trees are usually native species. While these are adapted to our climate and utilize water fairly well in dry or drought conditions, many of them aren’t doing as well as they might appear at first glance. Witness the stress involved in many native Colorado forests over the last fifteen-year period: the opportunistic epidemic of the Mountain Pine Beetle, drought conditions so widespread that forest fires sweep our wild areas repeatedly for half the year, massive deforestation.
Third: Although your trees and shrubs are dormant during cold weather, they’re not dead – during dormancy they still have some basic metabolic functions that must be driven with water collected from the soil. Roots are prone to drying in the winter, causing permanent damage or death. Young trees in particular need the most attention to make sure roots get what water they need to keep growing and keep the upper branches alive through the coldest of the seasons.
Our winter watering service consists of three evenly spaced treatments, applied within the dripline of each tree and targeted at 10 gallons of water per caliper inch on average, to maximize water absorption and retention.
Concerned about your trees’ health and drought-stress status?
Just want to keep your outdoor spaces lush, hassle-free?
Schedule your free onsite evaluation or winter watering, or call 303-806-TREE for more information now!