Winter weather is upon us, whether we like it or not. And for those who appreciate their backyard oases, you may worry about snow and ice can do to your garden. Here are some tips for how to prevent snow from ruining your garden.

Heavy, wet snows and ice can break branches; however, snow itself will not hurt landscape plants. In fact, snow is a good insulator against freezing temperatures that may injure plants.

Snow on the ground prevents injury to roots, which cannot withstand soil temperatures below ten degrees F. Some of the more sensitive perennials can be harmed at soil temperatures just below freezing. Snow acts as a blanket and is one of the best things for winter insulation.

But snow can cause damage, especially when snow plows or blowers hit the plants with it. Snow pushed or thrown over plants is denser than natural snowfall and tends to stick together. As it settles, it can rip branches from shrubbery.

Branches that normally bend will break in winter when they are frozen and brittle. If snow is dumped on plants, it may be better to leave it than to try to remove it to prevent further breakage of the branches. But the best solution is not to cover plants with excessive snow.

Snow or ice sliding off the roof may crush the plants it hits. If plants are already covered with natural snow, this can help cushion the impact of falling ice and protect the plants. If little or no snow is present, protect plants by placing teepee-shaped wooden frames over them.

If you are concerned about injury to your favorite plants from the settling snow, you can protect them by scooping the snow away from the plant. Then, carefully remove the snow from the branches, but be sure you are wearing gloves.

Be careful when shoveling, plowing, or blowing snow. If you can’t remember where plantings are located, place posts with reflectors next to the plants.

If you use salt on walks and drives, this substance, mixed with the snow and slush that is piled around plants, can leach into the soil and harm roots. Try not to pile salty snow near plants or on lawns. Or use one of the environmentally safe salts like calcium chloride or garden fertilizer, sand, or kitty litter mixed with equal parts of “safe” salt.

Do you need help keeping your plants safe this winter? Reach out to us at 201-869-5680.