Still dry as we move into winter

There is an old adage that one should water everything real well one last time around Thanksgiving to avoid wintertime dessication.

According to Iowa State University extension, “To prevent winter desiccation, it is important to maintain adequate soil moisture by watering evergreens once a week (during dry periods) to allow them to growth vigorously throughout summer and into fall. Deep watering in fall is especially important if rainfall in late summer and fall is well below normal. Another practice that may reduce the risk of winter injury is to apply a 3 to 4 inch layer of wood chips or shredded bark around the base of evergeens. This will help conserve soil moisture and prevent deep freezing of the soil in winter.”

Summer drought reached very high levels this summer, peaking around August 28 with extreme drought in parts of the area.  The remnants of hurricane Isaac eased the drought Labor Day weekend, with total September well above normal.  However, the drought never totally ended and November rainfall has thus far been less than one inch.

We are finding dry, cracked ground in many landscapes right now.  Evergreens stressed by the summer heat and drought are now facing a winter with a dried out root system.  The straw which breaks the camel’s back may be at hand.

What can you do?

  • Water each tree and shrub one last time, about one to two inches.


  • Be certain trees and shrubs have 2-3 inches of bark mulch.  Keep it back from the trunk or plant base a few inches.


  • Consider root sytem improvement.  We aerate our lawns, why not our trees?  Research and experience shows the single most beneficial treatment to improve tree health is root systam aeration and improvement through basal tilling and radial trenching or vertical mulching.  For more information, click here>>>



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