Shake it Off: Protecting Your Garden in Winter

 In Blog

It has begun, Colorado, and not just in our mountain communities. Snow has fallen and the shoveling season has begun. We know, we’re dreading it too, but that driveway isn’t going to clear itself, so get out your shovel and get to shovelin’. And, while you’re out there, take a look around your garden and make sure your delicate shrubs and plants aren’t being weighed down by too much snow.

No doubt your garden is picturesque and romantic when it is covered in a blanket of white snow, but not every plant appreciates this winter wonderland as much as you. Clearing snow from your plants requires a little more finesse and a delicate hand than a vigorous shoveling of your driveway and sidewalk. Remember, your plants are living things, and should always be handled with care.

Winter Gardening Tips for Colorado Homeowners

Snow covered Nandina Berries scream “Happy Holidays”, but they might also be screaming “Help!”.
Photo by C. E. Price [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What’s a little snow on your ornamental shrubberies in your garden? Isn’t it just moisture that will help feed the plant and keep it hydrated? Sure, and if the snow immediately melts, the no harm no foul. What you should be concerned with is heavy snowfall that lands on delicate plants where it freezes and damages the branches.

To avoid this problem, gently lift up the branch, either using your own hands or for heavier branches, use a stick, broom or shovel to gently lift and shake off the piles of snow. Start at the tip of the branch, since this is the more delicate and fragile area.

If it is already freezing, wait until the temperatures once again go above the freezing point. Snow frozen onto branches is hard to shake off. Wait until it melts a little and then proceed to shake it off so you don’t risk damaging the branches.

Winter Gardening Tips for Colorado Homeowners

You can also protect your winter plants by giving placing them near a fence for shelter.
Photo by Si Griffiths

If it is already freezing, wait until the temperatures once again go above the freezing point. Snow frozen onto branches is hard to shake off. Wait until it melts a little and then proceed to shake it off.  Pine trees, and trees with horizontal branches are much better at holding snow, so it’s not necessary to go around to every conifer and Christmas tree shaking off the snow. It’s the trees and shrubs with upright branches and multiple stems that you should keep an eye on and help out with the heavy snow load whenever possible.

Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean your gardening duties are over. The more you help out your plants in the winter, the more brightly they’ll shine in the springtime.

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