How to water thru ice layer in winter

Asked December 18, 2018, 2:51 PM EST

My southeast facing yard has trees and shrubs along the back 6 foot fence. During low sun angles in winter there is a layer of ice that does not melt for weeks or months even when there is no snow or other moisture. How do I get water to the roots, and should I be trying to do so?

Arapahoe County Colorado

1 Response

Hello there,

I'm glad to hear that you are thinking of watering your landscape this winter. As you probably already know, one's landscape needs about 1 inch of water per month during our fall and winter.

That said, we do not recommend watering frozen areas, nor should you try to penetrate the frozen ground with a root feeder. It turns out that the roots to your shrubs and trees are reaching far beyond their drip zone to get water. In fact, research is now showing that the roots will extend from 3 to 5 times the height of your tree or shrub, depending upon the type of soil you have. Therefore, don't worry about directly watering the shrub, but rather the surrounding landscape. (In your case, the roots are no doubt extending beyond the frozen area.) Here is some more information on winter watering. https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/garden/07211.pdf

Good luck.