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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I water during dry winter months?

A: If there has been no natural precipitation for a month and the temperatures are above normal for your area, any trees or shrubs planted within the last six to 12 months will benefit from getting some water. Apply just enough to saturate the soil down to 6-12” from the top of the soil. Hand water the plants or, to be water wise, use water from your shower or the dog’s watering bowl.

Using mulch around trees, shrubs (don’t “volcano” the mulch up the trunk), and perennials will help keep the soil moist and the roots cool. This not only conserves water but slows the plant from budding out if the weather is unseasonable warm.

Blue grass lawns are intended to go dormant in the winter months in our climate. Water only need be applied if the temperatures are very warm and there has been no natural precipitation and the lawn appears to be stressed. Apply water by hand or using a bucket to especially dry areas – next to curbs or sidewalks are the most likely areas to become stressed.

Q: When should I start planning my spring planting?

A: January, February and early March are great times to plan your flower gardens for the upcoming season. Research new varieties, draw your garden areas and decided where you need to make changes or improvements.

In late March plant sweet peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots and other similar plants indoors.

In Idaho, spring weather can derail your plans, but if the weather cooperates, in April you can start to plant bare root perennials, and transplant daylilies, asters, and fall anemones. By mid to late-May you can really begin your planting.

Q: When is the best time to plant sod?

A: Installing sod in March through June, weather permitting, will allow you to take advantage of natural precipitation and let the sod get established while the weather is cool. Planting in the heat of the summer requires a higher amount of water to keep the sod moist and allow root growth. Fall is also a great time to plant sod.

Q: When should I turn my sprinkler system on?

A: When the temperatures are consistently in the mid to upper 60 degree range and there is no natural precipitation, it is probably time to turn your system on. When you do start your system, consider upgrading it by adding rain or soil moisture sensors. They are cost effective and will not only save water but will save you money.

Remember to adjust your zone run times as the weather changes. The amount of water needed in the hottest months is much more than needed in the spring and fall.

To learn the answers to others questions please click to find a professional in your area or go to the University of Idaho Extension’s Idaho Landscapes and Gardens website.