Garden Maintenance for Fall: When to Stop Watering

September 26, 2019 1:43 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When it comes to garden maintenance in Newton, MA, there is a mentality that more water means better plant care. However, watering needs change in winter, and fall is the best time to start that transition to prepare trees and plants for winter and adjust your watering schedule. If you water too much, you can cause more harm than good, but there are dangers if you underwater as well. Here’s a look at when to stop watering trees, perennials and annuals this fall and prepare your landscaping for winter conditions.


Trees benefit from healthy watering right up until the ground freezes. If you keep them hydrated, they are more likely to cope with winter’s challenges. While summer temperatures definitely dehydrate soil, plant and tree beds packed under snow and ice also create a different type of dry spell. You need to help them out by giving them a good dose of hydration before snowfall.

However, watering is not necessary if there is a constant rain—you risk overwatering in that circumstance. But if there are a few weeks of dry weather and the ground is not frozen, water trees during that time. This can continue until late October or early November, so do not be too hasty hanging up that hose—especially if winter is slow to arrive.

Temperature is the best gauge of when to stop watering. Sometimes, the ground may not freeze until December, and even then, there could be a warmer spell of above-freezing temperatures. Stop watering for certain if temperatures continue into the 30s for a few days straight. Basically, you never want to water trees if the temperatures dip below 40 degrees.

Perennials and annuals

Most summer annual plants die with the first or second hard frost. If you want them to last longer, water them right until the ground freezes. Start winding down the watering when temperatures dip below 40 degrees.

Water perennials in the morning when possible. This allows the soil to soak up the water before temperatures drop in the evening. Like trees, your other plants also require a heavy dose of hydration before winter hits. They will also experience a drought under the snow and ice.

Many times, you will have to experiment to find that happy medium with watering. Look for signs of overwatering (brown edges around leaves) and underwatering (wilting). Adjust according to what you observe. If you are certain you are giving your plant and tree beds the right amount of water and they still struggle, consider a soil test before winter begins. Early fall is the best time to do that and ensure your plants’ survival through winter. Having underlying issues now could lead to a bad growing season when spring finally arrives.

For help with garden maintenance in Newton, MA, contact BBD Tree Service. We trim and prune trees at affordable rates and can offer plenty of maintenance tips as well. Call us today to schedule a free quote and help your trees prepare for winter.

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