Frozen plant
Winter gardening
Image courtesy of Susy Morris

For certain parts of the country, winter brings water in a different from – frozen (cue “Let It Go”). However, for those of us who think cold is 60 degrees, winter is just as much a time to conserve water as each of the other three seasons. Add on that many areas of U.S. are still experiencing drought conditions, and water conservation becomes even more important.

We’ve compiled 10 winter water-wise landscaping tips for you (whew, that was a lot of W’s).

  1. Bring in sensitive potted plants during freezing temperatures or cover them with a blanket to better insulate them.
  2. Place mulch at least 3 inches deep around all of your plants to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. Be sure to do this before the first freeze, which is typically around mid-November.
  3. Groom the garden by raking up leaves (or don’t), pulling up dead annuals, and pruning back woody perennials. Now is the time to do major reshaping of shade trees and remove mistletoe from bare limbs.
  4. If you have an automated sprinkler system, turn the sprinkler system to the off position and water manually either by hand or via soaker hose once every three weeks (if there is less than 1 inch of rainfall during this period). Let Mother Nature do your watering for you as much as possible.
  5. Run your sprinklers or hand water your plants eight to 10 hours before freezing temperatures. This creates moisture in the ground and keeps root systems from becoming damaged.
  6. Install a rain/freeze sensor to ensure your sprinklers don’t turn on during freezing temperatures and cause icy sidewalks and/or roadways.
  7. Check with your city to see if they offer rebates for the purchase and installation of rain freeze sensors on existing irrigation systems.
  8. Check with your city to see if there are any water restrictions (no watering on specific days) due to water shortages and/or drought in the area.
  9. Consider installing a rain barrel to capture and reuse rainfall.
  10. In February, conduct an audit of your irrigation system and schedule. Doing so will ensure that your are adequately prepared for spring.

Have other tips? We’d love to hear them in the comments section.

Feature image courtesy of Mayo Jordanov

By Chase Ezell

Chase has served in various public relations, communications and sustainability roles. He is a former managing editor for