Keep a few watering cans or buckets handy to give new additions to the landscape a drink during winter thaws. This is especially vital when winter doesn’t bring rains or snowfall. Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials often fail to survive winter due to drought stress more than cold.
Rose suggests watering your terrarium with a dropper or turkey baster, or try “a watering can with a thin spout that can direct the water to the soil just under the leaves.” The absorbent florist foam will take up the excess water. Trim back plants as flowers fade or leaves grow tall.
The way to avoid overwatering is to give plants water only when they need it. Don’t follow a rigid schedule, such as watering every weekend. Instead, water only when soil is dry to the degree that’s right for that particular plant.
Water plants effectively and efficiently by testing different irrigation methods and learning how well your soil holds water. Don’t judge when to water based on wilting leaves. Some plants naturally wilt under the midday sun, and plants also wilt when soil is too wet. Before watering, shove your finger into soil as far as you can and pull it out. If it comes out dry and clean or you can’t even shove it into soil, you need to water. If soil sticks to your finger or feels moist, don’t water. When watering, deliver water directly to soil to reduce the amount lost to evaporation. Soaker hoses, drip irrigation, micro-irrigation and bubblers all deliver water directly to soil. If using a traditional sprinkler, make sure it’s not watering surrounding grass, sidewalk or driveway.
Find a watering can that you like and can handle easily. Look for one that isn’t too heavy when full of water and doesn’t tilt awkwardly toward the spout end when full. Plastic watering cans are lighter than some metal cans. Cans with a long spout can be tricky to control because you can’t see where the water is in the spout once you tilt the can.
Dry winter air causes houseplants to dry out quickly. At the very least, check plants weekly to assess soil moisture. Sticking a finger onto—or even into—soil is an easy way to determine if plants need a drink. With small plants, lifting the pot is another good way to figure out how moist soil is. Dry soil is light; wet soil is heavier. Soil color also changes as moisture evaporates. Wet soil is dark; dry soil is lighter in color.
Cool Wave Spreading pansies strut their stuff beautifully in hanging baskets, where stems cascade 18 to 24 inches. Water is one secret to success with fall-planted pansies. Water well at planting time, and be sure to water plants thoroughly before cold snaps. If cold is strong enough to freeze soil around pansy rootballs, roots cannot absorb water until soil thaws.
Trees that you plant in fall need consistent watering as they enter their first winter. If winter brings frozen soil without snow, give your tree a drink during any times of above-freezing temperatures. One hose-less way to ferry water to a tree is with a water bag in a cart.
After applying organic mulches, water thoroughly to help the mulch bind together. If possible, time mulching before rain and let nature handle the watering. To help prevent weeds, consider adding a pre-emergent weed preventer like Preen on top of the mulch. This type of weed control prevents weed seeds from germinating.
How does Chip Wade's Atlanta yard stay so green and lush? The secret is an extensive irrigation system including an irrigation ring around each tree and in every pot. It costs more on the front end but saves time and money in the long run.