Every schoolchild’s dream is every gardener’s nightmare – waking up to a blanket of white snow in your garden. But it doesn’t need to be the death knell for your treasured plants. Act calmly and decisively and you can stave off the worst of it – here are our top five tips for beating the snow.
It’s pruning time
Snow can be unforgiving to new growth, so act quickly to stop damage from spreading. Remove unsightly, damaged parts by cutting back to a healthy side shoot or bud. It might feel wrong trimming plants that have only been out for a few weeks, but needs must when the cold fronts drive!
If you haven’t pruned your roses yet now’s a good opportunity, as they appreciate a hard pruning in spring anyway.
You probably won’t need to push grass back in
If recently planted, severe frost can sometimes heave your shrubs out of the ground exposing their precious and vulnerable roots. Simply firm them back in the soil (not necessarily barehanded like the picture), and add a small layer of compost to improve the drainage.
This’ll help the soil warm up in spring, and protects them if the frost/snow returns.
Shake, shake shake: shake your branches
Frost- or cold-damaged blossom won’t product fruit. However, for those that are still yet to bloom you should shake the snow off to keep them safe. This is good to do for all trees, blossoming or not, as snow can weigh down the branches and cause them to break.
It’s also good to wipe the snow off your greenhouse, as it can prevent your beloved plants from getting their daily dose of sunlight. The weight and changing temperature of the snow can also cause cracks to appear in the glass.
Hopefully it won’t have been cold enough to split your stems, but if you’re seeing any damage just stake/tape them back together to give them their best chance to heal.
It’s stress awareness month, so don’t let a bit of snow send you into a frenzy. Go about your garden calmly, and let your plants heal in their own time once you’ve done your pruning and staking.
For further prevention, provide cover for your flowerbeds and bring vulnerable plants indoors ahead of time. Or until May, as April clearly can’t be trusted.