Too early to prepare your plants for Winter? Nope

Wed. Sep. 18, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Too early to prepare your plants for Winter? Nope!

I know… we haven’t even had the Autumnal Equinox, so what the heck am I doing asking you THAT question? Well… once again my favorite magazine, Northern Gardener, comes out with a timely reminder.

The best thing you can do to prepare your evergreens, newly planted shrubs and trees and any borderline zone-friendly plants is to water them consistently from now until the ground freezes.

My rain barrel

Trees can use 10 to 20 gallons of water a week when they’re getting established! Author of the article, Laura Schwarz, says Fall watering is especially important for evergreens as they continue to lose moisture through their needles throughout winter.

winter damage

Moist soil holds heat better than dry soil. Our soil’s never get as cold as our air temperature, thank goodness or we’d be living on the tundra! The point is the roots of our plants can’t take as much cold as the above ground branches. Schwarz recommends you check around the base of your plants to see how dry the soil is. 

This is a good video on watering. I know it “sounds” silly but you can see what happens if you water a lot quickly but it doesn’t soak in… the video is quick!

Again, newly planted trees and shrubs, evergreens and not-quite-cold-hardy plants should be  pampered. If the first few inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water. If you have a trickle hose, let it run for about 30 minutes. If you don’t have a trickle hose, don’t worry. I have a link to the U of MN extension with all the information you need on HOW much to water and for how long.

It can take a couple of years for larger plants to become established. Remember… the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap.

In addition to watering, mulching is a must. Use an organic mulch over the dripline of your planting. Add a 3 inch layer now for sure and then, after the soil has frozen, add another 3 to 5 inches depending on when you planted, how much you watered and how cold hardy your plant is.