What to do when there is snow in the garden ?

Irregular, depending on the years and areas, snow is not a meteorological episode like others !

What to do when there is snow in the garden ?
A sticky, heavy snow can cause damage on branches.

A fluffy cover

Because it contains a lot of air, snow is an excellent insulating material. It plays a protective role against the cold as soon as it reaches 5cm in thickness and is not too wet (powder snow). If snow falls on the ground before a period of harsh frost (temperature below -5°C), the soil will not get cold as quickly and not as intensely. Therefore, do not remove snow from a fragile plant if a spell of colder weather is forecasted !

What to do when there is snow in the garden ?
Snow protects the soil and the plantations !

Power for the soil

Snow has the particularity of enriching the soil with azote, as it drags in its fall, Azote compounds. They do not replace fertiliser but stimulates soil's life. Hence the say (a little exaggerated!): 'snow in February is as good as manure'. Snow, in any case stimulates the microbial life of soil. In melting slowly, it allows the soil to get well soaked. But beware: a classic snow's fall (5 to 10cm) does not bring any more water than an average rain fall. A lot of snow during winter does not mean that the risk of drought has gone away for the following season...

What to do when there is snow in the garden ?
Remove snow from evergreen foliage's.

Beware of the weight !

Snow which accumulates on branches can make them break, especially if the snow is sticky and heavy. In that case do not hesitate to shake the branches, very slowly in order to make snow fall from then. Even if snow does not break the branches, it has the tendency of making them bend, which can create damage to the plants when it freezes, as it harms the vessels inside the stems. Do not be heavy-handed: do not use a broom or rake to bang on the branches, as this could cause even more damage !

Melted snow, good to water… indoors

Just like rain water, snow has the particularity of being soft as it does not have any trace of lime. It is just perfect to water your house plants and avoid the forming of a whitish crust on the surface of the pots. Carnivorous plants and orchids must only be watered with rain water or melted snow. Collect the snow and let it melt and get to the room temperature before using it. You can also keep it over a long time in a passive container, in darkness.

Alpine plants: Snow is imperative

If you like plants coming from mountainous' areas, you need to know that they require a thick layer of snow in winter. Failing that, they could be suffering… from winter cold, exposed to the open air and the rain, which they fear! This is why the British grow these plants in greenhouses, as the lack of snow in winter makes them more fragile. A Bell jar or a cloche is sufficient. Snow has always been useful in the garden !

What to do when there is snow in the garden ?
Crocuses are mountainous' plants, so snow is extremely good to them.
What to do when there is snow in the garden ?
The gentians, typical mountain's plants do require snow.
M. Jean-Michel GROULT
Pépinières PLANFOR
1950 Route de Cère
Tel : (020).7660.0178