Watering Evergreens Prevents Winter Kill

Mar 2, 2016

  The warm temperatures and windy conditions that have been part of the Billings area weather forecast can be causing problems for trees and shrubs, especially the evergreens.

Last year a common sight around Billings was the winter burn or winter kill. Those were the brown sections that appeared on lots of evergreens.

The problem is water.  And now is the time to take action to prevent winter kill this season.

Amy Grandpre is the horticulture assistant for Yellowstone County Extension Service.  She says the key is to water the drip line.

“The drip line is where the branch tips are, “she says. “If you walk up to the tree and it’s where the first branch is. That the area that you should focus.”

Grandpre says the deciduous trees would like to get water, too, if you have the opportunity but the priority is the evergreens.

And depth is important for the trees and shrubs. You want to get down a good nine inches. She says you can test the moisture depth with a moisture meter for house plants.  Or you can do the screwdriver test.  

“I kind of prefer the screwdriver test,” says Grandpre. “Just take your longest screwdriver and go out there and push it in. And it kind of slows down and stops when the soil is dry.”

She adds that the beginning of March is the perfect time for those with aspen trees to get out there with dormant oils and head off aspen scale insects