Most winters, like this one, we can’t count on snowfall to provide enough moisture for plant life. The fact is that, in this part of the country, without supplemental water during winter, some plants, especially young ones, won’t make it to summer.
Plants don’t “turn off” in the winter. Stem and root tissue remain active even when it’s cold out. In dry winters like this one, plants need supplemental water. Water once or twice a month, during periods of little or no snow, until early spring. Water only when temperatures are above 40 degrees F. Water at mid-day when the ground isn’t frozen. Try sticking a screwdriver in the ground if you’re not sure. Water as slowly as possible for the deepest soak. Set the garden hose on a trickle and move it around every hour or so. Or, a slick trick: poke several small holes in the sides of gallon milk jugs, just above the bottom, fill them with water and set them around the bases of your plants. This way you water slowly and you can control the amount of water each plant gets.