Dry soil is a winter problem

This weekend marks the midpoint between three weeks of almost spring-like weather throughout much of Northern Nevada. This weekend could also be a critical time to water plants as warm temps and minimal precipitation has created dry soil conditions that can impact ongoing plant health.

Consider that it takes +/-10 inches of snowfall, depending on the moisture content, to equal 1 inch of moisture. Most winters, we do not receive the snowfall to give plants the moisture they need to sustain themselves.

Adding supplemental water during the winter keeps roots from drying out and that is one of the most important protective steps we can take in terms of winter plant care. And it’s not just about the winter. When we keep plants adequately watered during the dormant season, they enter the spring as healthier plants – ready to jump into their spring growth spurt. And that, in turn, makes plants better prepared for the hot days of summer.

In other words, winter watering pays off all year long.

About winter watering:

  • Anytime daytime temps are above freezing and the soil is not frozen, plants can be watered.
  • This weekend is prime time to check soil moisture around plants.
  • If soil is dry to about a 3-inch depth, then supplemental water is needed.
  • While daytime temps are still above freezing, assuming the soil in your area is not frozen, right now is a critical time to water trees, perennials and also turf.
Winter Drought Effect on Conifer

Evergreen trees are highly susceptible to winter drought

Even though lawns appear dormant, they still need supplemental water – especially the areas with a lot of sun exposure. Pay special attention to slopes and south or west facing areas. These areas will dry out first and when they are dry, they will also be very susceptible to mite damage. Fortunately, the best cure for turf mites is a good drink of water. Use a garden hose with the sprinkler attached and apply sufficient moisture so that the water soaks deeply into the soil.

Water trees with a deep root watering device attached to the hose so that water gets deep into the soil where roots live. Place the device into the soil at about 18 inch intervals around the tree. Move around the tree in a circle that corresponds to the area on the ground where the branches end. Use the same device to water shrubs.

This weekend, when you’re checking and watering your plants, remember that plant life is a cycle throughout all the seasons. Everything we do to maintain our plants now will pay it forward to have healthier plants down the road.

Water & Managing Drought

Quick Facts about Watering During A Dry Winter

  • 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.
  • 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.

Signature PDF Guideook – Managing Drought

Dry air, low precipitation, little soil moisture, and fluctuating temperatures are characteristics of fall and winter in our area. Often there is little or no snow cover to provide soil moisture from October through March. Trees, shrubs, perennials and lawns under these conditions may 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.

DROUGHT GUIDELINE: Download PDF for managing large landscapes during drought

Plants Sensitive to Drought Injury

Woody plants with shallow root systems require supplemental watering during extended dry fall and winter periods. These include European white and paper birches; Norway, silver, red, Rocky Mountain and hybrid maples; lindens, alders, hornbeams, dogwoods, willows, and mountain ashes. Evergreen plants that benefit include spruce, fir, arborvitae, yew, Oregon grape-holly, boxwood, and Manhattan euonymus. Woody plants also benefit from mulch to conserve soil moisture.

Herbaceous perennials and ground covers in exposed sites are more subject to winter freezing and thawing. This opens cracks in soil that expose roots to cold and drying. Winter watering combined with mulching can prevent this damage.

Lawns also are prone to winter damage too! Newly established lawns, whether seeded or sodded, are especially susceptible. Susceptibility increases for lawns with south or west exposures.

Watering Guidelines
Water only when air temperatures are above 40 degrees F. Apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before possible freezing at night. A solid layer (persisting for more than a month) of ice on lawns can cause suffocation or result in matting of the grass.

Plants receiving reflected heat from buildings, walls and fences are more subject to damage. The low angle of winter sun makes this more likely on south or west exposures. Windy sites result in faster drying of sod and plants and require additional water. Lawns in warm exposures are prone to late winter mite damage. Water is the best treatment to prevent turf injury (see fact sheet 5.505, Clover and Other Mites of Turfgrass.)

Monitor weather conditions and water during extended dry periods without snow cover – one to two times per month.

Newly Planted vs. Established Plants
Newly planted trees are most susceptible to winter drought injury. Trees generally take one year to establish for each inch of trunk diameter. For example, a two inch diameter (caliper) tree takes a minimum of two years to establish under normal conditions.

Trees obtain water best when it is allowed to soak into the soil slowly to a depth of 12 inches. Methods of watering trees include: sprinklers, deep-root fork or needle, soaker hose or soft spray wand. Apply water to many locations under the dripline and beyond if possible. If using a deep-root fork or needle, insert no deeper than 8 inches into the soil. As a general survival rule, apply 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree. For example, a two-inch diameter tree needs 20 gallons per watering. Use a ruler to measure your tree’s diameter at 6″ above ground level.

Newly planted shrubs require more water than established shrubs that have been planted for at least one year. The following recommendations assume shrubs are mulched to retain moisture. In dry winters, all shrubs benefit from winter watering from October through March. Apply 5 gallons two times per month for a newly planted shrub. Small established shrubs (less than 3 feet tall) should receive 5 gallons monthly. Large established shrubs (more than 6 feet) require 18 gallons on a monthly basis. Decrease amounts to account for precipitation. Water within the dripline of the shrub and around the base.

Herbaceous perennial establishment periods vary. Bare root plants require longer to establish than container plants. Perennials transplanted late in the fall will not establish as quickly as those planted in spring. Winter watering is advisable with late planted perennials, bare root plants, and perennials located in windy or southwest exposures.

 

 

Thanks to the Colorado State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating.CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. No endorsement of products mentioned is intended nor is criticism implied of products not mentioned.

by J.E. Klett,  Colorado State University Extension horticulture specialist and professor, horticulture and landscape architecture; and R. Cox, Extension horticulture agent, Arapahoe County. 1/04. Revised 3/13.

 

Winter drought will take a toll on your landscape

A winter watering program will save your trees & shrubs

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, if the snow levels continue at this rate, it will be the driest four-year period since 1990-92. Warm winters without snow appeal to people, but cause harmful winter drought. Specifically, the lack of soil moisture and atmospheric humidity can damage tree and plant root systems unless they receive supplemental water on a regular basis. This can trigger a cascade of effects on overall tree and overall landscape health. By reducing a plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients, particularly during spring bud break, winter root damage limits subsequent stem and branch growth in summer. In turn, this can contribute to tree mortality and may even explain pockets of dead trees.

You see, trees may look inactive going into winter but the fact is they continue to regulate their metabolism and only slow down some physiological activities. This decrease in photosynthesis and transpiration begins a tree’s dormant phase. Trees still continue to slowly grow roots, respire and take in water and nutrients.

help-trees-survive-the-drought

A simple & visual guide to watering your trees during the winter drought

Why this matters now

Your tree & plant roots suffer from weeks of zero moisture.

Weaker trees and plants are more susceptible to outside pests and disease.

Plants will put energy into rebuilding the damaged root structures before flourishing in the springtime.

 

Contact Christina, your Customer Service Diva today to set up a winter watering program to ensure the health and vitality of your landscape investment this year.

Call: (775) 857-4333
Email: info@siglands.com

 

Learn more about our winter drought conditions from the media:

  • KTVN Channel 2 News: http://www.ktvn.com/story/24360015/drought-continues-into-new-year
  • KTVN Channel 2 News: http://www.ktvn.com/story/24420480/federal-water-master-says-drought-taking-its-toll-on-rivers-and-streams
  • RGJ.com: http://www.rgj.com/article/20140113/NEWS1801/301130022/Waiting-more-white-stuff-Snow-still-rare-resorts-retailers-challenging-season

 

CREW Northern Nevada Newsletter

NEW LOGO small2014 highlights some amazing accomplishments shared during the past year. Signature Landscapes is always proud to be an active participant in growing the CREW Membership, working with the board of directors, and simply being part of an incredible group of professionals in the commercial real estate world.

Read the final 2014 CrewWorks Quarterly Update

Just take a look at some of the Northern Nevada CREW highlights

  • 10 Year Anniversary!
  • Awarded TMCC Scholarship
  • Awarded UNR 4-Year Scholarship
  • Raised $20,000+ in CREW/NAIOP Golf Tournament
  • Supported Crisis Call Center
  • Supported Reno Bike Project
  • Supported Kiwanis Bike Program
  • Recognized Four CREW Impact Award Recipients
  • Honored Katie Morrison Award Recipient
  • Kicked off the Membership Challenge (Signature) Renewed the CREW Newsletter

GROW ~LEARN ~NETWORK ~EXCEL

CREW Network is a truly unique organization. Our more than 8,000 members in 71 major markets across North America represent nearly every discipline found within the commercial real estate industry, unlike most other professional organizations that specialize in only one career field. This means our members have the ability to work with clients on every facet of a commercial real estate transaction, across the United States and Canada. Corporate sponsorship is now available to businesses who will benefit through their affiliation with CREW, including but not limited to:

  • Commercial Real Estate Brokerages
  • Construction Companie
  • Attorney
  • Title Companies
  • Media and Advertising Groups
  • Landscaping Companies
  • Banks/Mortgage Companies
  • Tradesmen and Subcontractors

Defensible Space Specialists

Signature Landscapes is a leading defensible space landscape contractor for the Truckee Meadows, Carson and Tahoe/Truckee region. This means our expertise and manpower can quickly and effectively help to provide our firefighters with a safe place from which to defend your home from an approaching wildland fire.  Homes with adequate defensible space are more likely to survive a wildland fire, even without firefighter assistance.

Defensible Space
Defined as the area around your home where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the fire threat.  The size of a home’s defensible space varies, depending upon property size, location, and topography.  Sometimes a defensible space is simply a homeowner’s properly maintained backyard.  Yet another property owner might need to provide over 200 feet of defensible space around their property. 

Call Signature Landscapes today and take steps to create a fire-safe landscape for your home as well as your neighborhood. It takes a community to keep everyone’s home safe from the devastation of fire.

Local fire departments would like to encourage you to create a defensible space around your home.  You can do this by implementing the three “R’s” into your landscaping design: Removal, Reduction, and Replacement.

Start the Spring with Fire Safety

There are a few simple things homeowners can do to help protect their property before a wildfire.


  • Remove dead or flammable vegetation. 
  • Reduce vegetation by pruning or mowing.  Providing space between plants and trees removes the continuous fuel bed that might otherwise exist throughout your yard.  The more continuous and dense the vegetation in your yard, the greater the wildfire threat to your home. 
  • Replace flammable vegetation with less hazardous choices.  Shorter plants are better than taller plants, and non-woody plants are better than evergreens or junipers.

“Shifting our thinking now is critical given some disturbing projections from the nation’s wildfire experts:”

  • Fire seasons will become longer, more intense, and wildfires will be more difficult to control.
  • The number of people living in or adjacent to high fire-hazard areas will increase.
  • Our firefighting resources will not keep pace with the increased wildfire threat.

Ed Smith, Natural Resource Specialist University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

 

Download the following PDF booklets to learn how you can create a landscape in fire-prone areas:

How dry weather damages your landscape

According to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the Northern Nevada area is experiencing extremely low precipitation, so you’ll want to put some time into watering your trees and shrubs as soon as possible.

Businesses and homeowners should evaluate their ability to water their trees, shrubs and turf areas, and don’t be fooled when it snows (please let it be soon!). Dry winter conditions result in serious damage to newly planted landscapes as well as mature and established trees. You and your plants will be glad you did.

Damage to vegetation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Increased susceptibility to insect attack
  • Undersized leaves in the spring
  • Needle browning and pre-mature needle drop in evergreen trees
  • Desiccation and dieback to fibrous(nutrient absorbing) root tissue

These are all very serious issues when you’re expecting your landscape to come back vibrant and healthy in the spring. The frequency of supplemental watering should be based on the ongoing conditions, so monitoring soil moisture should be done often throughout the winter. Winter watering is a task that is often ignored during the holidays as everyone’s life becomes hectic.

Fortunately, Signature Landscapes can take this burden off your shoulders. Give us a call today so we can help you all winter long. Just give us a buzz at(775) 827-5296 and we’ll get you started.

KTVN Channel 2 Interview

Here’s our own Steve Fine on KTVN Channel 2 talking about some of the issues with a dry drought – winter or summer