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Fall & Winter Watering

October 24th, 2008

We had a long hot dry summer here in Ohio, as did much of the country. I watered and watered all summer long. This fall we have still been a little low on rain so I’ve been watering to make sure all my plants go into winter as healthy as possible. Many people don’t realize that watering is still important in fall and winter. Dry air, low precipitation, little soil moisture, and fluctuating temperatures are characteristics of fall and winter in many areas of the country. There often can be little or no snow cover to provide soil moisture, particularly from October through March. Trees, shrubs, perennials and lawns can be damaged if they do not receive supplemental water.

The result of long, dry periods during fall and winter is injury or death to parts of plant root systems. Affected plants may appear perfectly normal and resume growth in the spring using stored food energy. Plants may be weakened and all or parts may die in late spring or summer when temperatures rise. Weakened plants also may be subject to insect and disease problems.

Guidelines for fall & winter watering:
* Water trees, shrubs, lawns, and perennials during prolonged dry fall and winter periods to prevent root damage that affects the health of the entire plant.
* Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees F with no snow cover. Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night.
* Established large trees have a root spread equal to or greater than the height of the tree. Apply water to the most critical part of the root zone within the dripline.

It’s a good thing I installed those rain barrels because I have plenty of free water to make sure everything is fully hydrated. Here pretty soon I am going to need to drain my rain barrels for winter, so I need to use up all the water in them. What better way than to make sure everything is watered in for the winter.

Do you water in fall & winter?

6 Comments to “Fall & Winter Watering”
  1. Vered - MomGrind on October 24, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    We do water, but less. Actually our gardener does most of the work and we have a sprinkler system installed. I know next to nothing about gardening.

    Reply to Vered – MomGrind's comment

  2. Frugal Trenches on October 25, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Here in England we get enough rain people don’t really need to water in any season, except the odd week!

    Reply to Frugal Trenches's comment

  3. Susy on October 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I’d always heard it rained a lot in England.

    Reply to Susy's comment

  4. SJE on December 21, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    I just got my rain barrel too and I’m so excited. I got mine from It just made so much sense when I was comparing rain barrels – went ahead a bought the great big 80 gallon unit. I’m going to put a large planter on the top to hide it better.

    Reply to SJE's comment

  5. Elberberries on October 10, 2009 at 3:43 am

    I am being told that elderberries have 2 times the VIT A as carrots. Really???

    Reply to Elberberries's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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