Denver gardens and landscapes benefited from some much-needed snow today. Be sure to shovel snow off hardscape and onto your flower beds, borders, turf, and near your shrubs and trees. The melting snow will provide a much-needed drink for your landscape.
Denver's snow reminded us that we are, in fact, in the middle of winter. A winter that often has seemed like any other season. A mile high and dry, Denver has lacked snow, and we've even had some rain this winter--not the form of precipitation we're accustomed to in January in Colorado. Drought-dreading gardeners welcome any moisture.
The snow will help easy parched landscapes, but might not be enough moisture for your landscape. Front Range gardens endured record heat last summer. This unseasonably warm and dry winter, coupled with our intense sunlight means many gardens are dangerously parched.
As this snow melts, observe your landscape. Hot spots, obviously, will melt first, giving you a clear indication of your yard's thirstiest spots--areas you might want to reconsider for better water conservation.
If we run into another dry spell, be prepared to drag out the garden hose. Your trees and shrubs especially will benefit from a deep drink; and you might prevent winter kill and/or infestations of mites that damage plants.
Winter watering requires you to be in touch with your garden and your local weather. Recent precipitation did not provide enough moisture to satisfy trees, shrubs, and lawns. But how much you need to winter water your Denver garden depends on so many factors: your sun and wind exposure, your soil, the sorts of plantings you have, and especially the weather conditions. I live on a corner with a southwest exposure and a heavily trafficked avenue that creates breezes, so my gardens dry out quickly.
These tips will help you determine winter watering for your property:
• Winter Watering Tip: If your garden's under a dry spell for several weeks, note the weather forecast and if there's no chance of precipitation, unfurl the hose and hook up a sprinkler on a day when the temperatures rise to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
• Winter Watering Tip: Make sure to water grass, trees, shrubs, perennials, vines and beds of bulbs earlier in the day so the moisture can soak in, ideally six to eight inches.
• Winter Watering Tip: To conserve precious water, I keep a bucket near my bath tub and shower and watering cans near my kitchen sink. You can catch water running as you wait for it to warm up. Also, catching water from the kitchen sink might prove beneficial to your health if you drink or cook with tap water. Click on this link to learn why.
• Winter Watering Tip: When we do get snow, be sure to shovel the snow onto your landscape as a form of free mulch that will water for you.
• Winter Watering Tip: Remember that mulch helps keep protect plants’ root systems, maintain a more constant soil temperature and retain moisture.
• Winter Watering Tip: Plan your plantings realizing that dry winters might be part of Colorado's climate change. I'm planting more drought-tolerant plants in my gardens. Here's a link to my article about drought-tolerant perennials well suited for your Front Range garden. They're less likely to suffer winter kill during drought.
And here's a link to a piece on aloe and portulaca. These plants will weather dry spells and often can survive winter with only minimal watering, if any.
For more info: You'll find specific details about winter watering during drought on this page from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. Landscape professionals' top 3 tips to deal with drought.
••• "Cultivate your corner of the world.
You grow your garden; your garden grows you." •••
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