Commercial & Residential Landscapes Affected by Winter Drought
In much of Northern Nevada, we’re experiencing a serious dry spell. Warm winters without snow appeal to people, but cause winter drought. Specifically, the lack of soil moisture and atmospheric humidity can damage plant root systems unless they receive supplemental water. Truckee Meadows residents are in for a shock if watering doesn’t take place in the next few days.
Washoe County Parks has issued an emergency watering rule for all turf areas. Take this as a warning… let’s get our landscapes watered this month!
KTVN Channel 2 Interview
Do you remember last year’s dry December and January?
Affected plants may appear normal and resume growth in the spring, only to weaken or die in late spring or early summer because the amount of new growth produced is greater than the weakened root system can support. Lawn grasses also are prone to winter damage. Newly established lawns, whether they are started with seed or sod, are especially susceptible to damage in dry weather. Pay particular attention to turf on south exposures.
If you have any questions or comments about how to ensure the survival of your landscape plants, shrubs and trees, give us a call at (775) 857-4333 and ask for Tim, our irrigation landscape specialist.
Trees and shrubs at risk from dry winters include recent transplants, evergreens and shallow rooted species such as lindens, birches, and Norway and silver maples. Evergreen shrubs, particularly those growing near a house, may suffer root system damage during dry spells.
Water during winter only when air temp is above freezing.In the future, you should plan on watering plants when the leaves start to fall in the autumn. This will send them into winter with adequate soil moisture. For recent transplants, a soil needle or deep-root-feeder can be used on low water pressure for one minute at each site to water the root ball and surrounding soil.
Water during winter only when air temperature is above freezing. Apply water early in the day, so it will have time to soak in before nighttime freezing. If water stands around the base of a tree, it can freeze and damage the bark.
In most years, one or two winter waterings will be enough to keep plants from suffering winter damage.
Special thanks goes out to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Landscape for information on this article.