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Winter watering tips for trees, shrubs

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Tree care guide
Trees and shrubs need a little extra water to get through winter’s dry spells. Image credit: Denver Water.

Winter in Denver includes snow and cold, but long dry stretches and warm temperatures are not unusual.

During those times, your trees and shrubs need a helping hand from you — especially since last summer was the hottest and driest in Denver Water’s history.

“The occasional hand-watering of trees and shrubs in the winter is helpful. A few gallons go a long way this time of year,” said Jeff Tejral, water efficiency manager at Denver Water.

Watering during dry stretches, when there’s been no significant precipitation for about three weeks, will prevent root damage that affects the health of the entire plant. Apply the water at the “drip line,” the area at the outer edge of the plant’s branches, so that it reaches the roots.

A 3-week dry spell means
Trees: Need about 10 gallons of water for each inch of the tree trunk’s diameter.
Shrubs: Need between 5 and 18 gallons of water.

Water only when temperatures are above 40 F with no snow on the ground. Frozen soil won’t absorb water.

Keep moisture in the ground by putting mulch under the plant’s branches, leaving a few inches of space around the trunk of the tree or base of the plant.

Get more winter watering tips at Tree Care Guide.