Winter Watering

It’s difficult to know how often you should water your plants in the winter. While you can pretty well count on summers in Texas to be hot and dry, winters are variable. It can be warm (75 F) and windy one day, and frigid (20 F) the next. Plants’ water needs will ride that roller coaster of climates.

Adding to the problem, most of your plants are either bare or dormant during the wintertime. You don’t get the same sets of clues that they’re needing a drink.

My recommendation always has been to learn to "read" the soil, either by looking or by feeling. When it begins to dry an inch or so down, it’s time to water. That’s especially true for small plants like annual flowers and new shrubs and groundcovers. You can’t afford to let those plants get too dry for even a couple of days.

Best advice: watch your plants daily. When they’ve gone for a week or longer without rain or supplemental irrigation, it’s time to think about watering.

Remember that plants are more vulnerable to winter injury when they’re dry and wilted. Keep an ear to the forecast, then water as appropriate.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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