Now that metro-Atlanta has had a taste of cold weather, many folks are ready to roll up the hose and turn off the irrigation system. But conifers, broad-leaf evergreens, and recently planted ornamentals need additional water to be supplied to their disrupted root systems until their myriad feeder roots grow out into the native soils. Extra water is needed so the limited root systems can absorb enough moisture to supply limbs and leaves and to prevent die back.
If an inch of water per week is not supplied by rainfall, Crabapple LandscapExperts recommend slow watering applied directly to the root ball. A soaker hose or water breaker nozzle is a good choice for slow water delivery. Take particular care to water underneath the limbs of evergreens, specimens or hedges because the branches can act as a shield to divert rain water, leaving the ground drier than ever. For established plants with larger root systems, apply the water to a wider circumference to make sure all the roots are supplied. .
Evergreens transpire water out of their leaves all winter long. This makes it essential to replace lost moisture whenever temperatures rise above freezing.
- Broad-leaf evergreens such as holly, anise, boxwood, pittosporum, magnolia, camellia and tea olive can rapidly dry out in winter as well as during the growing season.
- Needle-leaf evergreens like pine, juniper, arborvitae, cedar, yew and Japanese plum yew also need a water supply during the cold months. Conifer branches often prevent rain water from reaching the ground so that it is dry under the canopy even after a rain.