After snowfall, you should NOT try to run to the rescue for your ornamental plants and shrubs. Even though the weight of the snow may look daunting, you could immediately cause more damage to your plant by shaking the branches. We understand, we want to protect them too!
However, sometimes the temperature is far too cold for branches to withstand a shake. Much of the liquid inside of your plants is frozen throughout the winter and can shatter like glass if bent or dealt with improperly. Trying to scrape or shake the snow off can do more harm than good. You do not want to accidentally kill off any branches or foliage. One other big “no no”: do not spray any de-icing salts onto your plants. This, of course, is toxic to them.
If you need help resisting the urge to shake the snow off of your shrubs and plants, keep in mind how brilliant nature is on its own!
Believe or not, snow can function as an insulator for your plants. Rather than putting branches through freezing and thawing cycles, snow is a less severe layer, almost like a blanket. Oftentimes, throughout the layer of snow there are pockets of trapped air that can hold warmer temperatures. The snow can also provide much-needed moisture to the plant when it melts.
If there is enough of it, snow actually protects the soil around the plants from the subzero weather by maintaining a temperature around 32 degrees. This can help to insulate the roots as well.
Now you are armed with these precautions for whenever snow may fall onto your landscape, or maybe you already knew all of this. But of course, Mother Nature can still be damaging. Branches that pose a hazard should be removed as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to call us if you are in need of assistance with broken tree branches.
On the other hand, you may face broken branches that are not hazardous. In this case, you should not take action. Winter is not the time to prune or trim branches that are not hazardous.
Each year as winter comes to an end and temperatures begin to rise, we are prepared to carefully prune and trim your ornamental shrubs, plants and trees that could use a little bit of TLC after the colder months.
See what University of Maryland Extension has to say about winter damage on landscape plants here.
These considerations apply to each of your plants, particularly your ornamental shrubs.
But more specifically, Evergreens, with their brittle needles, are often challenged when it comes to snowstorms. The key is to help them maintain as much moisture as you can. Refer to the video below for steps to prevent damage to your Evergreens during the winter months.
Click here to learn more about general tips on protecting your trees and shrubs from winter weather. This is something that we take into consideration year-round. From choosing the correct placement for plants to mulching and watering diligently at the correct times to pruning services and more, we are always here to help.
Sources (and more info on plant life during winter weather):
Precision Landscape and Tree | Birds & Blooms | Bland Landscaping Co. | Brooklyn Botanic Garden