It’s true that trees go into dormancy during Illinois’ cold winters, but dormancy doesn’t mean the kind of suspended animation where the organism can completely live off of whatever energy it stored up during the warmer months. Though the tree may look “asleep,” especially if it’s deciduous and has lost its leaves, its roots are still working to give it oxygen and nutrients. The roots still need water to convey those nutrients to the rest of the tree, even if they don’t need as much water as they do during the growing season. Here are other reasons why it’s important to water your trees in the winter and how to water them.
Water Keeps Soil Warm
Not only does water transport nutrients into the tree, but it also helps to keep the soil warm as temperatures drop. This is one reason why gardening experts tell you to water your plants before covering them up before a freeze. When the soil gets too cold, it also dries out, which in turn damages or kills the roots near the surface. The organisms in dry soil also have a harder time breaking down organic matter such as leaves or wood chips into nutrients the tree can use. Eventually, these organisms die or leave the area. By the way, though snow and ice are made of water, they’re not in a form that the tree roots can use. Powdery snow can also be easily blown away, which exposes the soil around the roots. This causes them to dry out.
Young Trees Are Especially Vulnerable
Young trees especially need watering during the winter because their roots aren’t extensive. Dry soil can damage these young roots, and a hard freeze can kill them and kill the tree in turn. The root systems of older trees are more extensive and indeed can be as large as the tree’s crown. It’s easier for them to find water, but they should still be given a drink or two during an especially hard winter.
How to Water Trees in the Winter
You may be surprised to learn that it’s best to water your trees when the temperature rises to above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and there’s no snow around. This allows the water to penetrate easily into the ground. You should also water during the day, and be sure to water slowly. A drip irrigation system is ideal for watering your trees during the winter. Water in the area around the tree’s drip line or the edge of the rootball, not close to the trunk.
Call Us to Learn More About Watering Your Trees
Our certified arborists are pleased to use our knowledge, experience, and skills to serve the people of Peoria and the surrounding area. As a family-owned company, we’re happy to give our customers tips on how to take care of their trees during all seasons, including the winter. Besides advice, we provide services such as stump grinding, tree removal, trimming, storm preparation, and clean up. We gladly serve both residential and commercial customers. Call us at Central Arbor Tree Care today to learn more.