Denver typically receive less than 18” of natural moisture per year, which is about 40% of the national average, and our winter months are often very dry. Typically trees don’t grow here naturally unless there’s a natural water source, such as a stream or river, nearby. So watering your trees is essential for their health.
Did you know that Winter Watering is important? Learn why in this video:
When you choose Mountain High Tree, you have full access to our team of expert Certified Arborists who can handle all of your tree care and plant health care concerns. Our arborists travel on-site to conduct inspections and evaluate the health of your trees. We’ll talk with you about what’s needed and, if necessary, work with you to recommend treatments that can help your trees maintain and enhance their beauty and health. Our trusted tree care services include pruning and trimming, tree or stump removal, periodic trunk injections, root treatment, fertilization with environmentally sensitive sprays, supplemental watering, and more.
Our Certified Arborists can address any tree or plant health care concern you may have. We’ve included a list of our comprehensive services here and invite you to call us for a free custom consultation.
Supplemental Tree Watering
Denver is a high plains desert. We typically receive less than 18” of natural moisture per year, which is about 40% of the national average. Our winter months are often very dry. On average, the snow that falls along the Front Range does not hold much moisture. In fact, it takes about 12” of snow to equal 1” of moisture. Partially because of this, trees don’t grow here naturally unless there’s a natural water source, such as a stream or river, nearby. Almost all the trees we have in our urban spaces have been brought in for planting at some point: they aren’t native to Colorado. As a result of all these factors, trees along the Front Range need supplemental watering, especially during the fall and winter months when your irrigation systems are shut off.
The “critical root zone” is an area that goes out from the trunk to at least as far as the branches (drip line) on deciduous trees and well beyond (2 to 3 times) the distance of the drip line for Spruce, Pines and other evergreens. Keep in mind that many of the fine absorbing roots are very shallow, often directly under grass roots. When supplemental watering, allow water to permeate 10 to 12 inches deep to help establish a deeper more drought resistant root zone.
If you have an average, or smaller, yard, supplemental watering can be accomplished with a hose and sprinkler head, a soil probe or a soaker hose moved around to thoroughly water the critical root zones of your trees and shrubs. When doing this, you’ll want to water to wet the soil to at least 10” deep. If you use a soil probe, don’t insert it more than 4” to 5” deep because you can go past the water-absorbing roots that often lie just below the turf roots.
If you have a large yard, or you just don’t feel like pulling a frozen hose around, Mountain High offers a supplemental watering service that uses Yuccah, a natural cactus extract that helps better and more evenly wet our hard packed clay soils.
Fall and Winter Months
In the fall and winter months, when your irrigation is shut off, we recommend checking soil moisture at least once a month. Check your soil at around 4” to 5” deep. If it’s damp and you can make a dirt ball in your fist, then you are probably okay. If the soil feels dry and doesn’t ball up, it’s time to water. You can also experiment with a soil moisture meter. First, test it in known conditions, so you can be sure you can read it accurately. Water in the morning when it is above freezing, to allow the moisture to soak in before it freezes. During most fall and winter seasons in Colorado, you may need to water two or three times, but it’s a good idea to make routine checks frequently to make sure.
Hot and Dry Periods
During the spring and summer months when your irrigation system is on, you’ll find there are periods of hot and dry weather when it’s beneficial to supplement with additional water to help your trees and shrubs. Typically, we water only long enough to keep our grass green and happy. However, the tree roots under the turf often get very little of this moisture, which tends to cause them to grow just under the turf roots. About once a month it can be very helpful to add more water to these areas. During especially hot periods, it becomes even more important to add water. This can be done by either running the irrigation system two or more times in one day to allow it to penetrate beyond the turf roots or by using soil probes or soaker hoses.
If you have trees in areas that aren’t irrigated, it’s essential you add add supplemental water. Check your soil moisture at least once a month throughout the year and then water as needed. A good rule of thumb is to deeply water your trees once a month, year round.
Often overlooked, construction sites pose their own challenges because, while work is going on, normal irrigation can be altered or not working at all. It’s important to check soil moisture levels monthly and water as needed during construction to protect the health of trees, shrubs and plants on the site. Compacted soils, and damaged roots are other factors to consider. It is always advisable to have an arborist involved before starting construction that could impact your trees.