Trees and shrubs planted this year and even in the past three years are in danger of root damage or even death if the dry weather persists and they're not watered, horticulturist Ward Upham of Kansas State University Research and Extension said Thursday.
"If we have a warm enough period where people can get out there and water it would be a good idea," Upham said. Highs are forecast to be above freezing today and Saturday.
Plants transplanted in the past three years are not completely established and are particularly susceptible to drying out, as are evergreens, because they lose moisture through their needles. At the same time, roots are not able to absorb moisture when the soil is frozen.
There's no use watering when the ground is frozen, and you don't want to water when the temperature is below freezing. But take advantage of above-freezing days to water if there hasn't been any rain or snow. Usually only one or two deep waterings during a dry winter are required, Upham said.
Watering deeply means making certain that the soil is moist at least 10 inches below the surface, Upham said.
Plunge a metal rod, a wooden dowel or a screwdriver into the ground to see how far down you can go without meeting resistance. Water until you can reach 10 inches deep.
Damage to plants from dry weather won't be seen until spring, Upham said, when leaves come out and are not able to receive enough moisture from the roots.