Picture this. It’s late April. Spring is in the air. We finally get a beautifully warm day. The kids are riding their bicycles. The neighbors are out working in their yards. The sense of rejuvenation is making everyone excited.
Except for you. Your lawn has big areas of brown grass. Someone told you it’s called “winterkill.” Only half of your young tree is getting new leaves. The rest looks like it’s dead. And that beautiful shrub you planted last summer? Remember how beautiful it was at the garden center? Forget it. It’s dead as a doornail.
How in the world could your neighbor’s yard come through the winter looking great while yours is looking so awful? You live 50 feet apart. This never happened to you when you lived in Illinois, or northern California or Georgia. This damage is really expensive to repair, let along frustrating. There must be some magic product your neighbor uses on his yard to keep it looking so nice. What’s his secret?
I’ll tell you what his secret is. Winter watering. Winter watering is crucial to a healthy landscape in Colorado. Why? Here’s the reason. Even though plants go dormant in the fall, losing their leaves in the case of trees and shrubs, they are still alive. Things that are alive need water. Dormant plants need less water than plants that are actively growing, but they still need water. If they don’t get enough water, they die from dehydration. Well, where are our landscape plants going to get their water during the winter?
In our climate, most homeowners turn off their sprinkler systems in October to prevent freeze damage. They usually don’t turn them back on until late April. That’s six months where the plants are not getting any water from the sprinkler system. Well okay, but isn’t there enough snow and rain? Nope, not in our climate. Our climate is so dry that most of the snow turns into water vapor before it melts and soaks into the ground.
People with intact landscapes in spring winter water. They water just enough keep the plants hydrated and therefore alive during the deep winter months. Then, when the grass and plants begin forming their roots in March, these homeowners water deeply so the soil is moist. Come April, the lawn greens up beautifully, their trees and shrubs leaf out, and what they planted last year actually survived.
Try winter watering and your spring will be full of excitement and hope rather than expensive landscape repairs.