Fall Irrigation Tips

Now that school is back in session, the days and nights are cooler and there's more rainfall (typically), many gardeners hang up their gloves and consider the season over. Not so fast! Aside from the many fall-blooming plants, fall is when plants give all their energy to growing new roots. Spring and summer see plants devote their energies to new growth and flowers, but now that is over for many plants, they get to the business of surviving winter which requires strong deep roots.

Fall is unpredictable. Often there are cooler temperatures and more rain, but that's not always the case, nor is it true that those conditions are seen consistently from September through the first frost. Don't neglect your still-to-flower plants, or the shrubs and trees.

You may have already winterized your inground sprinkler system. If you have, you can hand water for the remainder of September if needed. During September, your irrigation system may not be needed.

New Plantings

Did you add any perennial plants this spring or summer? Those plants need additional water to ensure they put down deep enough roots for winter. Winter kill is disheartening and frustrating, so help your plants do the hard work of growing strong roots. Take advantage of the still-warm growing season through September and possibly into October and water well.


These plants stay green all year long, but they can't take in moisture when the ground is frozen. The leaves still lose moisture all winter but their ability to take in water is severely limited. Yew and hemlock are especially vulnerable to winter damage. If these plants enter the winter season stressed from drought conditions in fall, they may struggle. Other plants that need extra water-love in fall include newly planted boxwoods, holly, and rhododendron.

Stop watering when the deciduous trees lose their leaves. This allows the shrubs and trees to enter a transitional phase to prevent new growth. The best place to water your trees is under what's called the 'dripline'. Stand under your tree and move to the outer edge of the canopy. This is where most of your tree's roots are drawing water from the ground. Watering the ground near the trunk isn't where your trees will take in water. These feeder roots are found up to one foot below the surface of the soil.

Keep an eye on the weather. Fall winds will dry out the soil faster than expected in fall. Also, once nearby deciduous trees lose their leaves, any conifers underneath may receive more sun than usual with warmer temperatures and require more water.


If you haven't yet added mulch around the plants and shrubs, consider doing that. Mulch not only prevents weeds, but it offers a layer of insulation against cold temperatures and snow. Mulch promotes faster root growth because it keeps the soil moist longer.

Help your shrubs and trees get ready for winter with proper fall irrigation. If you're looking for expert help on irrigation winterization, call the friendly team at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa. Contact us today for your complimentary quote. We would love to chat with you!