Many homeowners do not realize that even during the winter, a lawn and landscape stills needs good soil moisture. So far in 2014, we've not had much rain or snow at all, with nothing but dry, cold weather in the forecast. It's causing wildfires to pop up in Oklahoma. And the dry weather could pose a problem for trees and shrubs unless they are irrigated some soon.
While turfgrass is not experiencing much topgrowth during winter, and bermudagass is brown and dormant, the root system of the plant is still alive and growing somewhat. Fescue is green, but when it is cold and dry, turns off color somewhat to a brownish green. One big concern is that winterkill of bermudagrass can be much more severe when turf is grown under dry soil conditions. Some soil moisture will moderate the cold soil temperatures, and prevent winter damage in many situations, compared to turf grown in dry soils. It's been a very cold winter, especially compared to previous winters in Tulsa. And it's not over yet, so we could still experience some severe arctic blasts before springtime.
Wait for a warm day to irrigate!Just kick you irrigation system on manually and let it run for 20 minutes or so per cycle. It won't take much to get some moisture into the soil. If you don't have an automatic system, pick one of those nice days in between the cold ones, and set your hose and sprinkler out to deliver about 1/4" of moisture at least, which is not much really. Trees and shrubs, especially ones planted last year, will need some soil moisture in and around the root system.
We have started our R1 Weed-Control Treatment at LawnAmerica, so the pre-emergent herbicide needs to be watered into the soil within a few days also. So watering during the winter is sometimes needed in Oklahoma. I know it's a hassle, but if you've ever experinced winterkill of bermudagrass, it's not pretty. A little prevention now could prevent major problems on down the road this spring.