Drought in Winter

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Drought in Winter

By jamie December 19, 2023

Drought conditions can happen in the winter. In the winter homeowners supplemental watering through irrigation is turned off. With little to no rain or snow, this can lead to loss of your landscape plants.

It takes 10-13 inches of snow to equal 1″ of rain.  In colder regions it can take up to 50 inches of snow to make 1″ of rain.


Without snow cover, soil dries out quickly.  When the soil is dry, frost can penetrate deep below the surface.  Winter effects on landscape plants with no water can lead to frost heave. Frost heave is when the plants heave out of the ground exposing the roots. This damage is also seen in concrete and in roads.



Effects of drought on landscape plants can have a major impact on health and survival.

  • Slowing the rate of growth.
  • Reducing the rate of oxygen production.
  • Lowers the energy reserves for winter survival.
  • Natural defenses for pest control is lowered.
  • Can cause death to the whole or part of the plant.


Preventing drought damage:

  • Water once or twice a month in the winter.
  • Use drought resistance plant materials in your landscape.  The use of natives will also aid in the survival in drought conditions.
  • Provide 2-3″ of cover such as mulch to your landscape plants.
  • Maintain a healthy soil by adding organic material yearly.


Drought can happen in every season.  Be prepared to water in winter, give your landscape a nice mulch in the fall and check your landscape for frost heave.