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3 Reasons Why You Need To Water Trees In Winter

As the pressure to conserve water increases the threat to our urban forest also grows because of the tendency to (especially for trees) cut the water back dramatically in the winter. Trees are the most valuable asset in most landscapes. Keeping your investment healthy and thriving improves the value of your real estate. You can read a great article about trees and property values here. Below are five excellent reasons you should water your trees responsibly and in this case responsibly does not mean not at all.

Trees go dormant in the winter. This means nutrients and water are not transported from the soil to the canopy of the tree. Instead, the water and nutrients are held in the roots for growth and storage. Tree roots grow best when soil temperatures are between 32 and 41 degrees. If you want your roots to thrive you need to be sure they have the appropriate amount of water and nutrients.

Often normal rainfall or snowfall is enough to cover the water requirements for your trees. However years like this one when we have seen little rain or snow in California supplemental water is necessary.

In addition to lack of rain and snowfall, we have seen much warmer temperatures across California this winter. If temperatures are warmer than normal you will have to pay more attention to the amount of water your trees receive. The basics of ET do not change just because its winter and you don’t want to starve your trees of water and nutrients.

Another complication to properly watering trees is often the trees are part of a turf landscape and watered with the same irrigation system as the turf. Here is a great article to help you deal with watering trees in turf.

If you want to learn how to install tree rings or emitterline around your trees this is an excellent article for you.

Often trees are the most valuable part of our landscapes. According to the USDA Forest Service, healthy mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. Having to replace a tree is costly and it often takes years to replace the full value. Paying attention to the specific water needs of trees can pay healthy returns to a property. This means paying attention to trees in the winter too. If you enjoyed the post please consider subscribing to the blog or following me on twitter at @H2oTrends.


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Richard Restuccia

Richard is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. Richard is a spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. He served on the Irrigation Association’s Board of Directors. Richard also writes for other publications and is an award winning contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine. In 2014 his efforts were recognized with a “Leadership in Landscape” award. He has a great interest in the supply of clean water for people in developing countries and as an outdoorsman, spends his free time running, swimming and surfing.


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