With most parts of the Midwest currently enduring severe to extreme drought, it is important to remember to water your landscape plants, even in these Winter months. For most of Northeastern Kansas, snowfall totals are significantly below average for the 2012/1013 season, meaning less moisture in the soil for your dormant trees, lawn and shrubs.
Especially susceptible to damage from Winter drought conditions are evergreens, newly-established lawns, and young trees and shrubs, but in extreme drought conditions, even long-established plantings could be in danger. Drought stress makes trees, shrubs, and lawns more susceptible to disease and causes damage that won’t be visible until plants begin to leaf out in Spring.
In order to avoid damages due to drought, check your soil frequently for moisture. Using a garden trowel or a screwdriver, probe the soil to a depth of approximately 8 inches. If you find that the soil is dry, water landscape plantings when the air and soil temperature is above freezing, soaking the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. Check your soil for moisture at least every two weeks, applying water as necessary.
Protect your investment in landscaping with vigilant Winter watering, and don’t forget to detach your hose from the faucet!