While the North East and some Pacific coasts in the US might be getting abundant amounts of snow already this year, we are sitting high and dry in Colorado and in many parts of the central Rockies. With our irrigation systems blown out (or should be ??) and all landscape planting done for the season, it is very easy to forget about the care that may still need to be taken with those plants and lawns.
Snow does not equal water.
When dealing with newly planted plants and even a couple years old sod/turf, you must be careful to give ample amounts of water and care to your new green friends. This means that that dusting of snow we’ve had is not going to cut it. The average lawn/plant needs 1″ of precipitation A MONTH over the winter! That amounts to 10 inches of snow fall per month on average.
This years the snowfall in the Front Range area has only just broke 5.5″ of snowfall. That is less than 35% of the average snowfall we’ve had in the past 3 years. (Averaging 16.7)
Denver had almost reached a record breaking without measurable moisture this year at 65 days out of the record 69 day back in 02-03, causing the parks to turn their irrigation BACK on, in December! (Measurable” is defined as moisture of more than one-tenth of an inch – either snow or rain.) Now, I’m not saying to turn your irrigations back on, I’m actually saying to NOT do that. But you do need to put some love and care into hand watering. The parks in Denver go through an abundance of foot traffic, making the ground very hard and compact. This then effects the percolation of water to both grass and trees.
The parks solution could be to aerate but with the soil and ground being so dry, they cannot do that properly. Their only option was to turn the sprinklers back on and have them blown out again later. Thankfully, you do not have to worry about the heavy foot traffic and compactions so turning back on your irrigation is not your option.
Hand Water, Hand Water, Hand Water. A good tip to remember is taking advantage of those random warmer days Colorado is so famous for. Water when there is still plenty of light out (Mid-day), above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the ground is not frozen. If the water freezes before it can penetrate the roots far enough down you could cause an ice layer that will suffocate the plants. With how dry it has been, a good watering every 3 weeks is recommend for newer planted trees, shrubs and sod and about once a month for the older plantings.
Don’t forget that even though plants go dormant and look dead, they need to have proper treatment through winter months to bloom in the spring. Cheers!
Design — Build — Enjoy!