When can you stop watering your shrubs and plants?

March 10, 2010

Dear Dee,

During Fall when can watering of the shrubs and garden plants stop?

Thank you.

Jerri

Dear Jerri,

All perennials, shrubs and trees should be watered regularly until the ground freezes.  The rule of thumb is one inch of water a week.  Watering until the ground freezes allows the plant roots to absorb water and hold that water throughout the winter.  Watering also saturates the soil around plants, and as it freezes actually works as a  cushion around the roots of the plant during winter heaving periods.  Heaving occurs when the ground thaws- late winter and those unseasonably warm (and welcomed January days), and heaving can cause plant roots to be torn, or forced out of the ground.  Strong, hydrated roots will resist this tendency more than weaker, dry roots.  In addition to watering until the ground freezes, I recommend waiting
until the ground has frozen before applying a winter covering to your garden plants.

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