Nobody likes to suddenly notice dead plants in their garden, but the last couple of years have been tough for St. Louis gardeners.
The recipe for “sudden death” of trees & shrubs
For two summers in a row, 2012 & 2013, we experienced record high temperatures combined with below average rainfall. This is a recipe for failure where landscape plantings and even established trees are concerned. Winter watering for St. Louis gardeners is a critical element for a successful season.
Why water in the winter?
We all know that plants need water, but many people forget about their established trees and other landscape plantings after they’ve been in the ground for a few years, me included. Last winter was a painful example of what happens when “the perfect storm” of harsh conditions arrives together. Many broad leaf evergreens like boxwoods, hollies, cherry laurels, rhododendrons, and even many conifers received varying degrees of winter burn or death.
Here is an example of a boxwood experiencing winter burn.
How to avoid winter burn on trees and shrubs
Much of this winter damage could have been avoided or at least minimized by some thorough watering in the fall and winter of 2013. Evergreens (plants that carry foliage through the winter) are especially vulnerable to this damage when sweeping winds last winter pulled essential water from roots that were locked up in frozen ground. When the plants cannot compensate for this moisture loss, the result is brown, desiccated leaves and needles.
Here is an example of some hollies with winter burn.
Additional techniques for a healthy garden
Fortunately, many people protected their landscapes from the summer droughts with automatic sprinkler systems. Unfortunately, some of the most beneficial watering in 2013 needed to take place after most irrigation systems had been shut down.
Proper mulch application and bed maintenance is also important to allow rainwater to penetrate the surface, rather than run off uselessly. Consider a mid-summer bed cultivation to help with this water flow.
Dowco can help!
At Dowco, our client managers are trained to make these beneficial observations in order to prevent these kinds of problems by providing our VIP service. Our VIP customers’ properties receive constant monitoring to ensure that every effort is made to keep your property and surroundings as beautiful as possible. If you need advice or tips on winter watering for St. Louis gardeners we are happy to assist!
With Dowco’s VIP service, sudden death in your landscape will be a thing of the past.