Monday, December 14, 2009


The snow plows are out clearing the roads. Our driveway is still unplowed, but I imagine it won't be too long before that is accomplished as well. We got about 3-4 inches of new snow last evening and although it's pretty, and a good insulator for our plants, it can also break branches if it gets just a little windy.
Here is an article on how folks in Minnesota and Wisconsin deal with snow. Most of these things should have been done before the winter got into full swing, but it's good to learn about them when we are in the midst of dealing with the problem. As the saying goes, "Next year"!
But, you have the problem right now, so what should you do?
While the snow is still soft, go out and rescue your broad leaved evergreens (like rhododendrons, and similar shrubs that hang onto their leaves all winter.) Those leaves become overladen with snow and are vulnerable to breakage due to the heaviness of this burden.
Take the long handle of a rake, or shovel and insert the "handle end" of the tool into the shrub, being careful not to be rough since you don't want to damage the bark. Gently "bump" the branches until the snow falls off. As the snow cascades down, the branches will pop up while the additional snow falls to the ground, adding a bit more insulation to the roots.
It is important to do this before ice forms. If you should get rain, or an ice storm, leave those frozen branches alone. If you poke them while they are frozen, they may break right then and there. In the case of ice, just wait until a warm spell melts it off.
Be sure to get rid of this soft, heavy snow all winter long. When you go out to shovel, help the shrubs at the same time. You'll be happy in the spring when the shrubs are fully intact, and able to greet you with their glorious flowers !


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