How Often Should Gardeners Water Plants in Winter?

Protect your perennials, trees and shrubs from winter damage and dehydration with these expert gardening tips.

Cool temperatures and more abundant moisture reduce the stress on newly planted perennials and shrubs. You can help, by adding mulch and watering until the ground freezes.

holly bush with snowCourtesy Nancy MacDonald Uggla
Holly with red berries

What Plants Should Gardeners Water in Winter (and How Often)?

“We lost some bushes a few years ago because of a dry, cold winter. I was told we should have watered them. What plants should we water in winter?” asks Rebecca Williamson of Bushnell, Illinois.

It’s true that many plants die from dehydration as well as cold winter temperatures. Continue to water trees, shrubs and perennials as needed as the weather cools. Water all of your plants thoroughly before the ground freezes. Learn more tips to protect shrubs from winter weather.

Psst—here’s how to prepare your garden for winter in two days.

Protect Plants with Mulch

Another way to give plants a boost and help them survive is with mulch. Cover the soil with organic materials, such as twice-shredded bark, evergreen needles or shredded leaves. Mulch conserves moisture and moderates soil temperatures. All plants benefit from such care, but new plantings, borderline hardy specimens and evergreens should be your first priority because they are most susceptible to winter damage.

Next, discover 8 fall garden chores you should never skip.

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Melinda Myers
Melinda Myers is a nature and gardening writer whose specialty is attracting wildlife, especially birds, to the garden. She contributes regularly to the magazine Birds & Blooms, and lectures widely on creating gardens that please both human and avian visitors.