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How to water your deciduous trees and shrubs before winter

Watering is an obvious need in the summertime, with lush plant life and hot days acting as a constant reminder. While winter nears and trees are shedding their autumn leaves, you may think that the growing season is over and nothing needs to be watered. Just because plant growth is beginning to wind down and trees are beginning to bare, doesn’t mean that you should stop watering your deciduous trees and shrubs, until they go fully dormant. Watering your deciduous trees and shrubs up until the last moment that they can absorb water will go a long way for ensuring their health for next growing season, and will protect them through their winter dormancy.

Deciduous trees and shrubs are simply defined as trees and shrubs that drop their leaves every year, unlike evergreens. Watering your deciduous trees and shrubs up until freeze sets your plants up for maximum health, keeping them protected through the harshness of winter. As explained by our Garden Center Manager and Horticulturalist, Sean Ducey:

How? Use an open-ended garden hose. The use of soaker hoses and root feeders will work but may produce less than desirable results.

Where? Lay the garden hose at the base of the plant over the root ball/root zone close to the trunk. Half way through watering, move the hose to the opposite side of the plant to ensure even distribution of water.

How Much? Watering deeply and less frequently is key to establishing new plants. The rate of flow should be when the water is flowing into the soil and running off of the surface. Water until the root zone is 1/3rd saturated. The only way to truly tell if you have achieved this is to dig around the plant and check. If there has been one inch of rain or more that will constitute as a watering.

How Often? Check the soil around your plant frequently. Allowing the soil to dry slightly is ideal before adding more water. Certain environmental factors may cause you to have to water more or less depending on your plant’s location. Plants in the shade may not need as much water as plants that are in full sun. You will have to dig around the plant to accurately determine what is happening to the soil. Continue this until the ground has begun to freeze.

If your deciduous trees and shrubs were just planted this year, and are just getting their roots established, this process is even more crucial. Be sure to follow these steps during the end of every year, before freeze, and your deciduous trees and shrubs will thank you for years to come.

Whispering Hills Garden and Landscape Center is a full service landscape center and nursery located in Cary, Illinois. Stop in today for our full selection of deciduous trees and shrubs, now 50% off. (Updated: 11/5/21)

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