It is just as important for roots to be moist going into winter (before the ground freezes) as it is during summer months.
Think about trees transitioning into winter like our human skin… As the weather gets colder, many of us notice our skin starts to dry. So, we start applying lotion to bring the moisture back. But, if you are well hydrated, you may not experience this. It is similar for trees and shrubs in the fall—they shift their survival focus from having beautiful leaves and foliage to more of a focus on root development.
This being said, late October and early November can be the perfect time for continued watering that you may think is not that beneficial. However, the soil is still warm from all the sunny hot summer days, and if it has been a dryer summer (like this year), plants can quickly start to dehydrate when it gets cold. In general, if the temperature is still well above freezing and the weather's reasonably breezy, then you should definitely continue to water. Wind will cause drying similar to the hot summer sun’s effects. And if it is blowing while all of the plant “juices” are flowing downward to get to the roots, then plants are even more prone to dehydration.
With the dormant season quickly approaching, this is when plants often dry out and go into unneeded stress—especially if the weather lacks autumn rains… Just another reason why it is so important to fortify root systems with healthy hydration this time of year so they have adequate water to deal with the high winds, cold temperatures, and limited sunlight of the winter months.
Remember, fall runs all the way to December 21st. So don’t be fooled by all the retailers who are rushing us through the seasons. There is way too much Christmas decor in stores before Halloween these days! Mother Nature does not like to be rushed. And just because it looks like Nature is starting to fall asleep, that doesn’t mean your watering practices should go dormant too early. There’s still work to do!
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