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  • Ava Salman

How to Water in Winter

After a generally good monsoon (rainy) season in the summer and fall, Northern NM has been experiencing some dry weather this winter, interspersed with occasional snows. When we experience long dry spells in winter or the amount of snowfall is not enough to saturate the soil deeply, our trees and other plants will benefit from extra water and here are tips to successfully water your garden and landscape in the winter months.

  • Winter watering is very different from summer watering. It occurs less frequently and at a different time of day.

  • When there is no snow cover and during extended dry periods, water one to two times per month.

  • Only water when the temperature is above 45° F.

  • Water mid-day so it can soak easily into the ground.

  • Plants with western or southern exposure or that are regularly exposed to wind will dry out more quickly and may need to be watered more frequently (every two-three weeks instead of once a month).

  • When watering older established trees, start watering 2-3 feet out from the trunk and water out to the drip line (where the water falls to the ground from the furthest tips of the branches). You can use a soaker hose placed every 2 feet out to the drip line, turned on for 45-60 minutes per watering to thoroughly moisten the soil. Water deciduous trees once a month through the winter.

  • For new/younger trees and all shrubs, water the whole area under the canopy, out to the drip line or a bit beyond the drip line.

  • It’s particularly important to water evergreen trees and shrubs that keep their foliage throughout the winter.

  • Groundcovers and perennials can be watered with a sprinkler when watering an entire bed or patch of plants. Or perennials can be individually watered with a water breaker (see photo) or watering can. It’s helpful to create a “well” around plants that will be watered individually to keep the water in the plant’s root zone.

  • DON’T WATER cacti and native succulents (Agaves, Beargrass, Yuccas) in the winter.

  • Be sure to disconnect and drain the hose after each winter watering.

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