[NAFEX] Watering young trees in winter

Michael Dossett phainopepla at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 20 11:47:53 EST 2009


I would echo what Stephen says but would also add a caveat.  Here on the west coast we have very dry summers.  The rains that end here sometime in mid-June don't start again until mid-September.  It doesn't cause a late surge in growth and hardiness problems.  The caveat is that even further north and a little bit further inland from here, it still doesn't get cold enough where I would expect really bad freezing damage anyway.  

My gut feeling is that drought stress on the tree going into winter is just as bad if not worse than watering the tree "too late".  Not only that, but late summer and fall is the time when the tree is initiating flower buds for next year.  I know in many of the small fruit crops it has been shown that late summer water is actually very beneficial for the next year's crop.  I wouldn't be surprised if the same is true for tree fruits.  I think if you're very concerned about it I wouldn't saturate the soil but I would make sure that there is enough there to keep the tree going and in good condition going into the winter.

Michael

Michael Dossett
Corvallis, Oregon
www.Mdossettphoto.com
phainopepla at yahoo.com


--- On Thu, 11/19/09, Stephen Sadler <Docshiva at Docshiva.org> wrote:

> From: Stephen Sadler <Docshiva at Docshiva.org>
> Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Watering young trees in winter
> To: "'North American Fruit Explorers'" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Thursday, November 19, 2009, 8:01 PM
> We're in a Mediterranean climate:
> pretty much all the rainfall occurs in
> winter.  It doesn't affect dormancy.
> 
> ~ Stephen
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]
> On Behalf Of Douglas Woodard
> Sent: Thursday, November 19, 2009 4:41 PM
> To: North American Fruit Explorers
> Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Watering young trees in winter
> 
> Caren, if the trees have shed their leaves or even if the
> leaves are 
> well coloured, I expect that the trees are far enough into
> dormancy so 
> that watering will not encourage  a growth spurt or
> delayed dormancy. 
> Here in the Niagara Peninsula the trees have shed their
> leaves.
> 
> I recall advice from the prairies, that if the fall was dry
> one should 
> wait to water until the trees went dormant (but preferably
> give them 
> enough water in the summer). But it was considered
> important to get the 
> trees hydrated before the ground froze.
> 
>  From graphs I have seen, cold tolerance is usually not at
> its maximum 
> until the first or second week in January.
> 
> Doug Woodard
> St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Caren Kirk wrote:
> > 
> > As I lost my young peach and my apple tree this spring
> I am becoming 
> > increasingly paranoid. I do believe that the
> freakishly dry April we had 
> > may have had something to do with their demise.
>> > Now I have a young plum and pear as well as 2 more
> apples. 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.
>> > Should I be out there watering my trees or would that
> be potentially 
> > damaging?
>> > Any advice appreciated as I really want to give them
> the best possible 
> > chance of surviving.
>> > Caren
> > St. Jerome, QC
> > Ag Can Z4b
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