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Say What? Tom's Case For Late Autumn Watering

Andrew pmk
Wikimedia Commons

Watering in the late autumn gives plants the moisture they need to get through the coming winter. It will give them a jump start next spring.

Prioritize Your Watering

Start with new plantings first. Perennials, shrubs and trees planted in the past few years are new. They're still adjusting to being transplanted. They have limited root systems. They’re the first plants I choose to water. Heavy mulch won’t hurt either.

"The best time to water is on a day when temperatures are above forty degrees."

Evergreen plants like pine, spruce, or euonymus are your next priority. One of these warm days give them some water. I like to use a sprinkler. Set the water so it gently sprays out. Let it run until the water puddles up on the surface. Let the water soak in. Repeat the trickle watering to force the moisture deep into the soil.  

Don't Forget The Grass

It isn’t time to turn the sprinkler system back on but lawns need water, too. Newly sodded or seeded lawns have only surface roots. They need watered regularly throughout the first year. Established lawns will also benefit from winter watering. Use the same watering method of wetting an area, letting the water soak in and then repeating.

The best time to water is on a day when temperatures are above forty degrees.  Set sprinklers during the warmest part of the day. This time of year the warm temperatures last only a few hours. Wait until the sun has warmed the soil in the morning. Turn the water off by late afternoon. Once the sun sets it gets chilly in a hurry.

Remember To Drain Your Hoses

It’s frustrating to get ready to water on that warm day only to find the hose filled with ice. It takes a long time for that ice to melt even on a warm sunny day. Disconnect the hose. Work from one end to siphon the water out of the hose. 


Tom has been offering garden advice on KUNC for almost two decades. During that time he has been the wholesale sales manager at Ft. Collins Nursery, Inc. Since January of 2005 he has been the owner and operator of Throgmorton Plant Management, LLC., a landscape installation and maintenance company as well as a horticultural consulting firm. He lives in northern Ft. Collins with his wife and two kids.
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