What exactly do I mean by ‘new plants’?
Newly planted shrubs and trees take a while to establish. Even under perfect growing conditions, a shrub will take two years to establish while a 2″ caliper tree will take three.
So that boxwood you planted in the spring, is doing extremely well and doesn’t require much water anymore? Still technically not established.
During establishment, trees and shrubs are especially susceptible to drought, including dry winters.
To help your new plants survive the winter, make sure your ground is damp to at least 12 inches. A good, deep soaking will ensure the moisture is going to the root system.
To do this, drill some holes in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket and set it at the base of the plant. The water will release slowly and soak into the ground instead of running off.
You’ll need approximately 5-gallons for shrubs and 10-gallons for a 2″ caliper tree.
Evergreens, whether new or existing, also benefit from extra moisture during winter.
During the cold and windy winter months, evergreens lose moisture that is stored in their needles or leaves causing the tips or entire leaves to brown. Broadleaf evergreens like Boxwood and Holly are especially prone to winter damage. To reduce or prevent this damage, water deeply as you would a newly planted tree or shrub.
As the days get shorter and colder, working in the garden may become less appealing. But this one, simple step will keep your plants healthy this winter and provide them with a renewed vigor in the spring!