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Last week I got a call from one of my customers.  He’s got two separate irrigation systems on his property; the first waters the shrubs and trees around his house, and the second waters a vegetable garden and is connected to a spigot so he can water trees and plants by hand.  He asked me if I could turn on a spigot, so he could water some trees along the street.

In the winter, this is very important.  Contrary to popular belief, while plants and trees don’t need as much water as they do in the summer, they still need water to survive.  Although they don’t consume it, or lose it through transpiration, as quickly in the winter, they can be weakened by a prolonged lack of water during the winter.

However, in the last month, Reno has received three snow storms, spread about a week and a half apart, each bring two to three inches of snow.  And while it hasn’t been a wet winter, it also hasn’t been dry.  As a rule of thumb, if it doesn’t rain or snow in about 15-20 days, I get concerned about the lack of water.

It also important to recognize your microclimates and soil composition.  Microclimates vary significantly in a city as geographically diverse as Reno, and even in areas around your home.  In many ways, soil composition is more important in this matter.  For example, trees in Southwest Reno can last all winter without water because the clay soil found there retains water.  On the other hand, trees in Spanish Springs frequently will not because the sandy soil drains water easily.

So pay attention to the forecast, and if we go through a two or three week period without any rain or snow, get out the hose or turn on the drip system for a few hours and really soak your plants and trees.  Just don’t forget to drain your irrigation system before nightfall.  This is one of the best ways to prevent dead plants and trees in the spring.

In my customer’s case, I told him it wasn’t necessary to turn on the spigot because we had gotten enough precipitation to keep his trees and plants healthy.  The next day we got about another inch and half of snow, and about another inch during the weekend.

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Daniel Anguiano

Entrepreneur, Professional Landscape Contractor, and Economics and Management Student

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