Many Midwestern homeowners are under the impression that their trees don’t need water in the cold winter months. However, this is simply not the case. Below, this tree care contractor in Lake Forest, Illinois is going to discuss the importance of properly watering your trees during winter.
The dormancy of trees is often misunderstood
Many people believe trees become completely inactive in winter — but that is not accurate. Deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves in the fall) might appear to be dormant in the winter months, but their roots are still active. These roots keep supplying oxygen and essential nutrients to different parts of the tree, and they need a source of water to make it all happen.
As any knowledgeable tree care contractor in Lake Forest, Illinois will tell you, you don’t have to water quite as often during the colder months — however, your trees still can’t survive without it. If they do not get enough get water, they can become weak and diseased. Moreover, its roots can dry out and break easily, which can cause long-term damage to the tree.
The role of water in soil health
Water not only hydrates your trees, but it is also crucial to supporting the ecosystem surrounding your tree, especially in the soil.
Moisture in the soil helps trees absorb nutrients necessary for their growth and development. In the winter, when the soil gets cold and dry, water acts as insulation and keeps it at a more consistent temperature. This helps protect the sensitive root systems near the surface from a deep freeze.
Wet soil also supports microorganisms that break down organic matter, like fallen leaves and wood chips, into nutrients for the tree. If the soil is dry, these beneficial organisms might die or migrate, making the soil less nutritious.
Young trees are more vulnerable
Young trees are particularly at risk during the winter. They often don’t have extensive root systems yet, and they can be easily damaged by dry and cold soil. Plus, they might not survive the winter if they don’t get enough water.
Older trees with more established and extensive root systems can better access water from deeper soil layers. However, they can still be affected by dry winter conditions. Your tree care contractor in Lake Forest, Illinois will recommend watering them regularly so that they remain healthy and grow well when the weather warms up.
Effective winter watering techniques
Watering trees in winter is different from other times of the year. Here are some watering tips to keep in mind.
- It’s best to water when it is above 35° F to prevent the water from freezing quickly and ensure it soaks into the soil and roots.
- Don’t water when there is snow on the ground. If there is no snow, the soil can absorb the water better.
- Use slow watering methods, such as drip irrigation. This delivers water straight to the soil in a controlled manner, letting it soak in well.
- Water around the edge of the tree’s canopy (drip line) or where the roots spread out. Don’t water close to the trunk to avoid rot or fungus.
Using these watering techniques can significantly improve the health and resilience of your trees, ensuring they thrive through winter and beyond.
Looking for a Tree Care Contractor in Lake Forest, Illinois?
Do you have any additional questions about watering your trees this winter that were not addressed above? If so, and if you’d like to get in touch with a knowledgeable tree care contractor in Lake Forest, Illinois, our certified arborists at Brown Tree Service Inc are here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn how to get in touch with our experts.