District News Articles

  2. Most of us don’t think about the fact that trees need water during the winter. They drop their leaves and go into an apparent dormant state, so we tend to forget about them. What we don’t realize is that beneath the ground there is still plenty of activity going on. The roots continue to grow throughout the winter and need adequate water to survive.


    There are few outward signs of drought stress on deciduous trees during the winter. During months when they have leaves, drought is noticeable because of leaf yellowing, wilting, curling at edges, brown tips, and dropping leaves. During the winter though, there are no leaves to act as drought indicators. Evergreens on the other hand, may turn yellow, red or purple. They also may turn brown at the tips of the needles and the browning may progress through the needle towards the twig.


    Often times, drought stress may not kill a tree outright but it will set it up for more serious secondary disease and insect infestations in following years. To insure a good growing season, care must be taken to supplement the water needs of the trees throughout the year.


    Use these tips to keep your trees healthy:


    ·       Water only when the temperature is above 40 degrees

    ·       Water only when there is no snow on the ground

    ·       During prolonged dry periods, water once or twice a month

    ·       Use 10 gallons of water for each inch of the tree’s diameter


    Trees should be watered slowly to make certain that water penetrates to an adequate depth. Watering quickly often does not allow for penetration to sufficient depth. Shallow watering means a shallow root system. Trees will be better drought tolerant and resist wind better with a deep root system.


    “Your trees are a valuable environmental and aesthetic asset to your home,” said Eric Moroski, Green Industries of Colorado (GreenCO) president. “Thirsty trees are more likely to have limb breakage as a result of heavy snows or strong winds. Watering them during winter dry spells helps them stay healthy and strong.”


    Winter is a great time to get your trees off to a healthy start for the next year’s growing season. Adequate water is the foundation of that healthy start. Caring for trees this winter will save our shade for the future.


    For more specifics on tree watering, visit, the Conservation page at or the Yard & Garden page at For a listing of qualified professionals to consult with you or manage your winter watering, visit