I am in zone 5 and am transitioning to Boon mix when I repot. This is my 1st winter with this soil, and I need advice on how to tell if soil is frozen ( does it get “hard” like organic soils), and does its appearance ever indicate dryness.
Good question - freezes can make it harder to tell if a tree needs water or not. If a tree has just been repotted into Boon mix and there’s a freeze the most common sign is that the soil will rise up out of the pot up to 1/4". When I see this I usually water a bit to make sure the roots have available water. Whether or not the soil becomes a solid block will depend on soil particle size and how wet it was when the freeze hit. I’ll sometimes tap the surface of the soil and notice that the particles don’t move when frozen.
Any other tips relating to watering needs of trees when the soil may be frozen?
I live where it is arctic(zone 3) much of the year. My trees go into a frozen storage for the winter(all native), so they are frozen for months. Sometimes I have had drying problems through a process called sublimation–basically shit drys even though it is frozen, especially particle type soils. I have been able to alleviate the problem by making sure all trees are dusted in 1 inch(min) of snow for as much time as possible. This seems to stop the problem. Granular soils freeze solid for me(solid chunk) but once thawed I watch carefully to be sure the particles don’t dehydrate fully–that said trees in my cold storage do not consume water at all until thewy are out and moving.
What about absolute temp? Should a tree be watered if temp freezing or below?
I never have watered trees that are frozen or when the air temp is freezing–it makes no sense to. I have misted, because I am worried about dryness within a storage area (air dryness mostly) and let it get on the branches and foliage, The incoming water is relatively warm but soon freezes.