The Q&A Archives: Winter Drought

Question: We're experiencing drought conditions this winter and I've noticed that some neighbors have been watering their lawns on warmer days. Should I be doing this, or is it better to leave the lawn dormant and start watering closer to sping? And will the drought hurt trees?

Answer: Under the circumstances, I'd leave the grass alone until spring weather arrives and the grass starts growing on its own. If you begin watering now, you'll encourage new growth, which will require additional water. Many grass varieties go dormant during the winter months but spring back to life when the weather warms. Allow your lawn to dictate to you when it's ready - then water infrequently but deeply to encourage the roots to penetrate the soil deeply. Deeply rooted grasses will survive droughty conditions better than those with shallow roots (from shallow and frequent applications of water).

Established trees and shrubs will usually be happy with one-inch of water per week during the growing season. Again, apply water slowly so it thoroughly wets the root area and encourages the roots to penetrate the soil deeply.

Hope your drought ends soon!

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