Fall has been on the dry side. According to the United States Drought Monitor we are experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Remember that plants use water during the winter — just not as much. Winter’s freeze and thaw cycles also remove moisture from the soil. And don't forget about the effects of drying winds.
Bottom line, the soils are currently on the dry side and we know that a plant that is well hydrated will survive winter conditions and be a stronger, more established plant come spring and throughout the rest of summer.
Follow these simple watering tips in the winter
How much should you water?
As a general rule of thumb, soak the soil at least six to eight inches deep. This holds true for the lawn, flowers and some trees and shrubs. This depth provides moisture to the crowns and a vast majority of the feeder roots. Larger trees should be soaked more deeply.
How long should the water be kept on in order to meet these criteria? It depends on the system applying it and the water pressure. The best way to measure your water output is with the use of a rain gauge. For example, to apply an inch of water using an impact sprinkler in a full circular pattern often takes four hours or more.
How often should you water? A soaking every two to four weeks is normally sufficient. When in doubt, probe the soil using a screw driver or metal rod. When the soil is dry, reapply water according to the above recommendations.
Remember to disconnect the hose from the outside faucet and drain.
by Dennis Patton, horticulture agent, Johnson County K-State Research and Extension