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This Week at TLC

Tips of the Month

TLC Flagship Garden Center - Memorial

105 W. Memorial Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

(405) 751-0630

Monday-Saturday | 9am to 6pm
Sunday | 11am to 6pm

TLC Northwest

8208 Northwest Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK 73162

(405) 720-0091

Monday-Saturday | 9am to 6pm
Sunday | 11am to 6pm

Winter Watering Know-How

Winter and Water

Plants need less care in winter, but it’s important to not neglect watering your plants over the winter months. Some ice or wind damage is unavoidable, but a lot of cold weather damage to plants’ cells is caused by dehydration. Follow the steps below to make sure your plants have adequate hydration in the winter.

Step 1

Water your garden thoroughly in the fall and deeply water newly planted trees and shrubs. Plan to give the plants and trees a deep watering every two to three weeks until the first frost.

Step 2

Pull spent annuals and cut back perennials, then mulch your beds and trees. Mulch protects your topsoil and helps it retain water. It also nourishes roots and keeps them warm. Mild, sunny weather warms the soil, which can inadvertently allow some unmulched shrubs such as roses and perennial flowers to begin to grow – only to be damaged when freezing temperatures return. Spread at least three inches of mulch over the ground, keeping it a minimum of six inches from the plant stems or trunks. Types of mulch include Western Red Cedar, Grade A Cypress, Pecan Hulls, Fine Pine, Pine Bark and Cottonseed Hulls.

Step 3

Watering your plants before a frost will protect them from damage caused by freezing. The roots need a chance to absorb the water before it freezes, so soak them at least 24 hours before a frost.

Step 4

Avoid getting water on the plants’ stems and leaves when you water in the winter. Ice sitting on foliage can kill it or cause it to break off. Water woody plants like shrubs and young trees away from the trunk because ice can damage the bark.

Step 5

Water plants during the winter only after long dry spells of two weeks or more. Plants are inactive during the winter, so they don’t need much water, but if the soil completely dries out, they risk damage from wind and dehydration.

Step 6

Watering helps aerate the soil and warm the roots, and plants can’t get enough moisture from the soil when it’s frozen. Do the watering mid-day to give the plants a chance to absorb the moisture before night temperatures freeze the water. Always water slowly. If the soil is heavy clay, the key is to water very slowly to allow gravity to pull the water down into the clay layers. Sandy soil allows the water to pass through quickly, so a slow watering helps keep the water in the root zone.

Step 7

Watch sunny parts of your planting beds for shallow-rooted plants that have heaved, or raised out of the soil due to repeated freezing and thawing. If you see a plant has heaved, replant it to the proper depth in the soil as soon as possible.

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