Tips from Olle Garden Bed: Do Trees Need Water in Winter?

As the temperature drops and winter comes, gardeners are eagerly preparing outdoor plants for winter. Everyone wants to make sure their garden is healthy when spring comes, so a plan is needed. Although garden plants are often concerned about winter preparation, it is important not to forget that trees also need to be taken care of throughout the winter! After all, trees are a popular addition to many gardens. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

Trees create a focal point for the outdoor landscape and provide a structure for the soil through their roots. In harsh winter weather, it is important to ensure that your trees can thrive. In this article, I will answer your question - Do trees need water in winter? Read on to learn more and make sure your trees are healthy throughout the winter!

raised garden beds

How do trees get water in winter?

First, let's see how trees begin to prepare for winter. When autumn comes, trees begin to slow down before the coming winter temperature. Other species, such as oak and maple, show bright autumn colors before they lose their leaves and become bald. This process helps them conserve energy when they enter seasonal dormancy. As the requirements for tree growth are getting lower and lower, trees are used to using less energy when winter comes. However, when the ground is close to freezing point, they also need less water to survive.

Although the trees look weak on the ground, an amazing process has taken place under the soil. Trees actually prepare themselves for winter water needs! Their cells collect any excess sugar produced in the warm summer. At the same time, the cells expel excess water. When the temperature drops, this cycle prevents any water from freezing cells and causing damage. If the temperature rises and thaws, the cells will reabsorb water to retain it.

This is the way trees protect themselves in severe winter weather. It also ensures that trees will have the water they need to start their vigorous growth in the spring.

Should you water the trees in winter?

Although trees are excellent at ensuring their survival, in some cases they do need water in winter. Here's when to give your tree a helping hand in winter:


If your area has a particularly dry summer and autumn, the trees in your backyard may need extra water throughout the winter.

When the ground is extremely dry, it is difficult for trees to store the water they need. In drought, dry air and dry soil combine to prevent trees from absorbing enough water through their roots or leaves. It doesn't give them many choices!

In this case, deep and thorough watering of trees before the ground freezes may be the top method to help them survive the severe winter weather. However, it is important that you only water above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Read the next section to find out why.

If the temperature remains above 40 degrees Fahrenheit

You should only water trees when the temperature is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Depending on where you live, this may be at the end of December or earlier. Check the outdoor thermometer to ensure.

Once the predicted temperature reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, stop watering the trees. When the temperature drops below this point and begins to close to freezing, your tree will stop absorbing water. When the temperature is freezing, watering will only form a piece of ice around the tree.

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How often

If it is a dry winter and the temperature is higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you should water them at noon. In winter, this will give the ground and air time to warm up in the morning. On the other hand, it will give the soil time to absorb water before the temperature drops again at night. You should water the trees once or twice a month until spring.

Not sure if your soil is too dry or wet enough? A simple test is to take a screwdriver and insert it about 18 inches into the soil. If your screwdriver is easy to enter so deep, the soil is wet enough that no additional watering is required. On the other hand, if your screwdriver is stuck within a few inches, the soil is dry and needs the help of a watering can.

To add additional cover to the tree, you can cover the bottom of the tree with a cover after watering.

You give water?

To sum up, do trees need water in winter? Yes, sometimes! If there is enough water in summer and autumn, your tree is good. It has stored enough water for the winter. However, if you have been experiencing drought and the temperature continues to be high, water your trees once or twice a month.

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