Winter watering in a townhome subdivision

Asked January 28, 2015, 9:18 PM EST

I have read the CO Extension's recommendations for winter watering but would like to know what you recommend for townhomes where a maintenance contractor takes care of the exterior. This is the same contractor who used fire hoses which, obviously didn't work. I have seen trucks filled with water. Do you have any other suggestions?

Douglas County Colorado sustainable gardening and landscaping

1 Response

Without knowing the limitations that the townhome complex may have such as access to trees and water, age of trees, watering equipment, etc. it is difficult to give specific recommendations. I would have the townhome manager and maintenance company discuss how they can efficiently and effectively water the trees in winter. Below is an excerpt of the winter watering fact sheet with the recommended watering amounts:

Newly Planted vs. Established Plants

Newly planted trees are most susceptible to winter drought injury. Trees generally take one year to establish for each inch of trunk diameter. For example, a two inch diameter (caliper) tree takes a minimum of two years to establish under normal conditions.

Trees obtain water best when it is allowed to soak into the soil slowly to a depth of 12 inches. Methods of watering trees include: sprinklers, deep-root fork or needle, soaker hose or soft spray wand. Apply water to many locations under the dripline and beyond if possible. If using a deep-root fork or needle, insert no deeper than 8 inches into the soil. As a general survival rule, apply 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree. For example, a two-inch diameter tree needs 20 gallons per watering. Use a ruler to measure your tree’s diameter at 6" above ground level.

Newly planted shrubs require more water than established shrubs that have been planted for at least one year. The following recommendations assume shrubs are mulched to retain moisture. In dry winters, all shrubs benefit from winter watering from October through March. Apply 5 gallons two times per month for a newly planted shrub. Small established shrubs (less than 3 feet tall) should receive 5 gallons monthly. Large established shrubs (more than 6 feet) require 18 gallons on a monthly basis. Decrease amounts to account for precipitation. Water within the dripline of the shrub and around the base.

Thank you for your question.