Winter weather is here in the northwest, and it is a blanket of white. Today, sitting in my office in Seattle, I've watched an inch accumulate on the cars parked just out my office window.
One question lingering in my mind as the snow piles up, is whether or not I should be knocking the snow off of my plants? There appear to be several schools of thought on this, but I'm going to go with what is most practical and relevant, based on the current conditions outside.
First of all, trying to knock snow off of frozen plants could easily break branches or limbs. While the snow is heavy, particularly for our region, it also behaves as an insulator for the plants, protecting them from further damage. Once the snow stops falling and begins to melt, the plants should begin to slowly recover. The snow also protects the plants from wind, particularly our evergreen and broadleaf plants, and keeps them pinned down rather than thrashing about in icy cold conditions. Since the plants are currently dormant, the lack of light shouldn't affect them.
Once spring hits allow your plants time to recover. They may be a bit slow to bounce back this year, and some of them might be saggy or misshapen, but don't get overzealous about pulling them out into you are certain there is no hope of recovery.
It is also not wise to shake the limbs or branches on larger trees to remove the snow. Be gentle! The trees are already bearing lots of weight, and could easily snap up and break off causing greater problems for the tree, as well as for you! If a limb does break, have the limb removed and the stub properly cut as the weather allows. This will ensure that your tree stays healthy moving into spring.
The main take away from this is to properly prune your plants each year to ensure that they have a strong foundation to support all kinds of weather. Clearly, it is something that we must all be thinking about during this massive snow event.
In the meantime, enjoy frolicking in the snow! Our crew is certainly getting a much needed body break during all this weather, but hopefully we'll be back at you soon once conditions improve.
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