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It’s a well known fact that trees aren’t their most lively in winter. Leafless and forlorn, it begs the question, “Is it right to water your trees in the wintertime?”

While the tree may appear to be dormant and inactive, there’s ceaseless activity below the surface. The tree will be maintaining it’s chemical procedures that supervise it’s seasonal hibernation. Since the tree is still very busy at work nurturing it’s roots and inner workings it’s not surprising that your tree will need plenty of water and oxygen to tide it through the colder months. So the answer is: yes, it’s necessary to water your trees in winter. Read on to find out how watering your trees will help to keep the trees happy and healthy.


Interestingly enough, your dormant trees can get dehydrated. Though they give the appearance of being on holiday mode, your trees are still at work. Though they aren’t giving up the usual display of foliage, that doesn’t mean that they’re not being highly industrious. A lot of the tree’s processes go on underneath the surface, there’s activity in the complex root system and other core operations that keep the tree healthy.

Providing plenty of water through the colder autumn and winter months is important to ensure thriving and growth. (The tree’s appearance of inactivity is a result of decreased hours of sun and the chillier temperatures. This means that watering them won’t disturb their winter repose.)

(For more information of the tree’s underground transactions, take a look at another of our blogs on the fungi-tree relationship): The powerful partnership between trees and mycorrhizal fungi (


The seasonal cold spells makes the soil dry and frozen which imposes on the tree’s usual insulation. This is significant because the natural insulation also has the job of sheltering the root system. Naturally, dried out soil will freeze quicker which means the death of the more delicate roots nearer to the surface. Because of their unique positioning, these tender roots play a vital role in providing the tree’s nutrition and water, both from the soil and from other parts of the tree.

Another symptom of dry soil is slow breaking down of organic matter. The slower the decomposition, the slower the soil attains it’s necessary nutrients and if the tree doesn’t get enough nutrients, it will eventually die.

With the aim to bypass these harmful effects of the water-less environment, it will be beneficial to ensure that your trees are getting sufficient moisture all through the long winter months. Below is a list of the main trees that will thrive on excess water through the drier frosts of winter.

  • Arborvitae
  • Alder 
  • Boxwood
  • Dogwood
  • European white and paper birch
  • Fir
  • Hornbeam
  • Linden
  • Mountain ash
  • Manhattan euonymus
  • Maple
  • Oregon grape-holly
  • Spruce
  • Willow
  • Yew


Reliable watering of your trees will aid your grown trees and keep your newly planted ones in good health. Here’s a few tips to help you along the way:

  • Only water your trees when it is above 4 degrees Celsius and there’s no fallen snow.
  • Watering at mid-day, will help the tree because it will mean that the water gets enough time to soak in before the soil freezes at night. 
  • Once or twice a month is the opportune watering gaps in winter.
  • When watering, supply 10 gallons of water for every inch of the tree’s diameter.


If you have other such questions on tree care, you can browse our other blogs:

Edit Post “HOW TO GIVE YOUR TREE VITALITY IN SPRING” ‹ Roots and Shoots Manchester — WordPress

Or visit other tree related pages which you may also find helpful!

Arboricultural Association – Watering young trees in dry weather

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