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‘Tis the Season…to Water!

By Paul James

I know, I know. You’re busy shopping and decorating and partying, which means the last thing on your mind is watering the garden. But that’s precisely what you need to do between now and Sunday. And the reason is simple: the soil is bone dry, there’s no significant precipitation in the forecast, and drying winds are common this time of year. Those factors combined can be deadly to plants.

That’s especially true of evergreens, because unlike their deciduous counterparts, evergreens continue to transpire – losing moisture in the process – throughout the winter, so it’s imperative that they go into winter fully hydrated. And many of them, including azaleas, arborvitaes, pines, spruces, junipers, Euonymus, and Oregon grape have shallow roots and are therefore even more susceptible to drying out. But even deciduous plants need water in the winter to prevent their roots from becoming desiccated.

The same is true of cool-season turf grasses such as fescue and rye, both of which continue to grow in winter. Dormant perennials should be watered as well to keep their roots hydrated. And spring-flowering bulbs, which store lots of water in advance of blooming, absolutely must be watered during dry winters.

So do your plants a favor this week, and make time to deep soak everything that grows, paying particular attention to evergreens. Then shop. And decorate. And party all you want.

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