Plants need water in winter. That’s right. Although the temperatures are not the sun-scorching, sultry temperatures like we have here in Raleigh during the summer, plants can still dry out in winter. Just like humans suffer from drier skin in the winter plants are at risk too. The roots of the plants have a possibility of drying out especially on cold, windy days. Plants that are at greater risk of suffering from winter moisture stress are evergreens and young trees and shrubs. Fall or newly established lawns are also at risk. So you want to be sure to stay vigilant about checking on your landscape!
Of course, it depends on the type of plants as well as the soil and weather as to how often you will need to water. Typically, soaking your plants every two to four weeks should be sufficient. However, a moisture meter or a screwdriver can be used to probe the soil to determine how wet or dry the soil is. This will help you decide if you are unsure about watering. Yet, you want to be certain that you are checking the soil and not just the mulch. Thus, be sure to remove some of the mulch in order to check the dryness of the soil.
If the soil is dry upon probing, then you will want to soak the soil using the following guidelines:
It is best to water during the middle of the day and when the temperature is above freezing. You also want to make sure that the ground is not frozen so that it can absorb the water. Cycling the water is also a good way to conserve water and make sure that it soaks into the ground. This involves running the water for a period of time and then turning it off for a period of time to allow the moisture to soak into the ground before turning it on again.
The soil should typically be soaked to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This will provide moisture to the crown and a majority of the feeder roots for most flowers, trees and shrubs However, you may need to soak trees to a greater depth. Taking care of your plants during winter ensures that they will continue to thrive in your garden throughout the year.