[NAFEX] Watering young trees in winter

Sarah Kehler Ewing skkewing at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 18 18:30:12 EST 2009


Hi Caren,

I have much the same question:

We had a very dry spring, summer and fall during which I watered as much as possible (every 2 weeks at the beginning to every 4 at the end!).  We had a hot dry fall so I watered everthing in well the beginning of October, rolled up my hoses and waited for the colder weather to arrive.  It did, in a big way: we got about 6" of snow and hit -15C/5F the second week of October (after 30C/86F the week before) when all the trees were still covered with green leaves!  It was cold and wet (rain and snow) for two weeks and then it got warm and dry again (high teens C/mid 60F's) which it still is.  Most of their leaves are off now, but they all came off dried and grass green.  I just finished watering them all in again (180 trees!) with five gallon buckets.

Good idea or bad idea?  I don't know.  All I know is that in spring 2009, I lost two hardy apples, a butternut, and had a lot of dieback in super hardy stuff like Manchurian apricots which have made it thru 5 winters with no dead wood whatsoever.  Last year was a carbon copy of this year (except that the cold came on more gradually so the leaves had a chance to fall naturally) with a dry growing season followed by a warm, dry November.  Last fall I didn't water my trees in again after hose roll-up in October, so I'm trying something different this year!

Sarah 
zone 3
Edmonton, AB


Caren wrote:
 
November is turning out to be freakishly beautiful and dry here, with a very late Indian summer.  Usually their would be no complaints from me as otherwise it's quite a miserable month.  However I am starting to be seriously concerned about the lack of moisture for the young trees.
  
I know at this point they should be going into dormancy and thus less water is a good thing. But last week we had temperatures around 10 deg C (50F) and it's only rained once in the last 2-3 weeks. Now it's starting to get a bit colder (-5C/ 23F this morning) but still the sun is out and it will probably start climbing back up to mid 40sF.



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