Have you heard?
We may be in for a whole lot of heavy wet snow! So what are some of the things that we should… and shouldn’t do to help our gardens get through this?
Here are a few of the basics:
Heavy snow in Colorado this time of year is almost always the stuff of broken branches. Argh!
If you have a large limb that you know is weak or prone to cracking under the weight of a lot of snow, consider bracing it for the duration of the storm. Maybe there’s a strategic way to support it with a 2 x 4.
I’ve been known to use a sturdy metal bench to support a lower limb of a tree that catches a lot of snow and has come close to breaking in the past. When the branch gets heavy, it’s able to just lay down on that table. Even some soft, thick rope could be used to create a temporary sling.
Any of these techniques could mean the difference between a much-loved tree that makes it through the storm intact… and one that doesn’t.
Once the storm is history and spring is in full swing, remember that proper pruning can avoid a lot of the breakage problems that storms like this create. Maybe something to put on your “to do” list…?
As the snow is falling…
Keep an eye on your trees and shrubs to see if they’re taking on more of a snow load than they can handle. Grab a soft broom and try to knock the snow loose off of branches you can easily reach (meaning no ladders!) by tapping with the broom in an upward motion. Pushing down on a heavily-loaded branch could be just the thing that causes a split or a break.
Knock off the snow on the lowest branches first so they’re not already weighed down when the snow from higher branches hits them.
Click here for a little video clip showing how to gently knock off the snow using a broom from underneath the branches of a large evergreen shrub.
Have some early flowers you’d like to protect?
Daffodils are some of my favorite flowers. It’s a real heartbreaker when they’re up and beautiful, only to get squashed by a foot (or more) of wet snow.
These sweet flowers don’t need to be protected from the cold. They can handle freezing temps, but several pounds of snow is another matter. I like to protect these early gems by covering them with something that will support the weight of heavy snow. Laundry baskets are perfect for this. (Who doesn’t want an excuse to postpone doing laundry?) Empty garbage cans or buckets will work, too. It’s always such fun to uncover the flowers once the storm has passed and see them bright, beautiful and upright, and surrounded by white!
“A blanket of snow” can live up to its name!
Our recent warm weather has been slowly, but steadily warming up the soil. Leaving the snow in place over small young plants really can help keep them warm!
And if you’ve already planted seeds for some cold-tolerant crops, lucky you! Time for a happy dance!
Don’t forget the birds!
If the forecast is accurate, this won’t be a particularly cold storm. Temps are expected to be in the 20’s and low 30’s. But if the winds at times are 25- to 30 mph, as predicted, the birds could definitely use some help.
Try to keep your feeders full to see your backyard birds through, until the skies clear. Once the snow stops, access to fresh water is a huge help, too.
And the usual housekeeping…
You know the drill: Make sure your hoses are disconnected and drained. And one of my personal routines: fill up your gas tanks and park your vehicles so they’re facing outward. It’s a lot easier to get momentum and plow through some deep snow if you’re going forward, not backward.
And, of course, dark chocolate. Lots of dark chocolate. I find it essential in times like these.