What to Do about Snow

Unless you've been hibernating in a cave, chances are you've heard about the coming snowstorm. Many people have been asking what to do in order to protect early plantings and even earlier blooms. The benefit of snow is that it acts as an insulator, protecting plants from the cold and frost, however, a heavy layer of snow can also cause leaves and branches to break, so it's important to know how to deal with it when it arrives. Here are some quick tips:

  • Mulch precious bulbs and early peas and greens deeply to help weather the snow and blizzard-like wind conditions.
  • If you have time to wrap and cover up plants, Fine Gardening provides a thorough list of how to shelter beyond cloches.
  • Shake excess snow from the branches of shrubs and hedges, to prevent them from breaking and becoming disfigured under the weight of snow.
  • Remove heavy deposits of snow from the tops of greenhouse and cold frames to let in light and prevent the structures from bending with the weight of snow.
  • Avoid snow melt chemicals anywhere near your precious plants. The salts will damage plants.
  • Avoid walking on snow-covered grass as it will damage turf beneath with unsightly marks and encourage fungal disease growth which thrive in the cool damp conditions.

Remember that just because your plants get blasted by a cold frost, it usually isn't the end of them. They'll likely return in full bloom next year. Though we don't have time for much more - remember this: always select plants that are tolerant to Zone 5 or 6 and avoid planting out too early. The USDA is pushing high tunnels and four season growing, but understand that it isn't for everyone. Need more? Jill Spencer offers 10 additional steps to protect your plants. 

The bright spot with the news of snow? The Flower Show crowds will be sparse Tuesday and Wednesday for those braving the elements. Enjoy and be safe!