The cold weather is coming! Protecting plants from snow is essential to keeping them alive during the cold winter months. A dusting of snow is unlikely to harm your plants. Heavier or prolonged snowfall can cause issues such as snapping leaves from stems and irreversibly damaging plants. Newly planted seeds, perennials, winter edibles, containers, and decorative trees can be at risk from snow. Summer garden blooms like fuchsias, ferns, dahlias, and cannas will wither under a blanket of snow. No need to worry about bulbs or perennials that may have recently sprouted; they will be fine.
Snow cover isn’t always detrimental. Cold, moist weather allows the roots of plants to become well-established. Ironically, snow can protect your plants by insulating the soil while it continues processing organic material. Even though there are some positive aspects, protection is needed when Old Man Winter makes an appearance. Make sure all cold-sensitive plants are covered if they are out in the yard. Place frost blankets, old blankets, plastic tubs, or cardboard boxes over the plants to provide protection. To protect your flower beds, cover them with straw or a heavy covering of leaves to prevent frost.
If your plants are in containers, move them into the garage, indoors, or close to the house for protection. If you have any pots that cannot be moved, consider wrapping the pots with an old blanket to prevent them from freezing through and harming the plants’ roots or breaking the pot. Pay special attention to plants under the eaves of your house – the rain can miss these areas and your plants can be surprisingly dry.
There are more tips to consider safeguarding against snow or freezing weather.
- Make sure your broadleaf evergreens are watered well. The cold usually comes with a dry cold wind that can desiccate plants and cause leaf burn.
- Consider spraying Wilt Stop® on broadleaf evergreens that could be exposed to cold dry wind. This will also help prevent desiccation and leaf burn.
- Make sure you remove your hoses from your faucets, cover your faucets, and drain the water out of your hoses.
- Consider moving any cold-sensitive indoor plants away from your windowsill for a few days if you have drafty windows.
- If we get an accumulation of snow, watch your evergreen plants, and remove snow from those that may be structurally compromised (this helps prevent breaking branches or splitting trunks). If a plant looks structurally sound, do not remove the snow because it serves as an insulator from the cold air.
- Don’t forget to feed the birds! Their food could be covered by snow; therefore, they will need some that is easy to find.
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