Should You Stop Watering Your Plants in the Fall?

As the leaves – and temperatures – continue to fall, many of us start to settle into a new routine of semi-hibernation, welcoming the snow to blanket the world in white. Irrigation systems are winterized, and garden hoses are wrapped for protection from the frigid weather.

Just because we may be ready for winter by December doesn’t mean our outdoor plants and shrubs are!

Winter Is Not Until Late December

During the cooler autumn months until the ground freezes, hardy perennials like emerald arborvitae and holly shift from growing foliage to growing roots. During a dry fall, the ground becomes parched. Harsh winds can dry out the soil even more. This can stunt the growth of root systems.

Trees and shrubs added to your landscape this season are particularly susceptible to stress. To combat these adverse effects, it is vital that you continue to supplement with water.

How Long Should You Continue to Water?

How long should you water your plants into the fall season? “Here’s how I like to put it,” says Michael Rossella, owner of M2 Landscaping. “You want your plants to freeze wet.”

“Here’s how I like to put it: You want your plants to freeze wet.”

Michael Rossella

Even on those occasional 50 – 70 degree days we randomly get in January or February, watering your shrubs is a good idea. “I do it in my yard,” Michael says. “Some people think it’s crazy, but it’s good for the plants.”

How to Properly Water

Rather than using overhead sprinklers, which tend to waste water due to evaporation, use a hose-end sprinkler, soaker hose or drip irrigation system and direct the water to the roots. In a slow steady stream, water your plants for approximately 30 – 60 minutes or until the soil is moist 10 – 12 inches below the surface.

You should provide water if there hasn’t been substantial rain for 10 – 14 days. For most soil types, watering twice a month will be appropriate. If you have clay or rocky soil, you may find once a month to be sufficient.

Overhead sprinklers like this one are best for warmer weather. In autumn, opt for hose-end sprinklers.

Call The Experts

Fall watering can minimize and even eliminate the negative effects of stress on your evergreens, shrubs and perennials. Lock the moisture in and protect the root growth with 2″ – 3″ of shredded bark mulch, and you will be ready for the season.

If you would like help with fall clean-up, mulching, and otherwise prepping your landscape for the winter months, contact us at M2 Landscaping and we will be happy to help. Have a safe and happy autumn!