The lone voice of horticultural reason

“If I water my trees and shrubs heavily starting this fall, it will help them survive winter, even though I’ve pretty much neglected them all summer long.”

Ah, if only this were true.

Making up for season-long neglect by watering your trees and shrubs in the fall (because you’ve heard that they should enter the winter season well-watered) is akin to finding God in a foxhole. Results are not at all assured.

Yes, trees and shrubs (and by trees, I mean ornamentals, young trees, and trees planted this year or last) should go to bed wet, to protect them from winter burn and overall stress. But if they haven’t been receiving regular moisture during the growing season, fall watering won’t have much impact.

Oh, it’ll be better than nothing, but try to figure out how to find the time to keep your investments well-watered all season long. That’s what it takes to develop a lengthy, healthy root system in just a couple years, the type that will be able to seek and store adequate moisture for winter.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener