The Wrong Kind of Snow for Gardeners

I’ve waxed poetic in the past about how pretty some plants look wearing little snow caps and the magical quality of plants covered in hoar frost. Yes, winter in the northern garden can be beautiful. But, not with the kind of snow we got last night and are expected to get through Sunday morning.

hydrangea branches bent over in ice
The wrong kind of snow can damage young trees, such as this hydrangea on a standard.

I stepped out about 7 this morning to walk the dog and we slogged through an inch or more of wet glop on the sidewalks (more than 2 inches on the grass), then faced little stick pins of sleet as we walked into the north wind. The forecast has been hard to pin down because this is one of those storms that can be all rain, all snow, or some combination. (For those who forgot over the summer, an inch of rain equals roughly 10 inches of snow.) But, it looks like we will end up somewhere around 5 to 7 inches of snowishness.

Despite the weather, I had a garden chore that had to be done this morning. Just last night, I’d read an entry on the Knecht’s blog about the importance of snipping your hydrangea blooms before winter. Last year, I did not do this and, due to the type of snow we had, experienced no problems. But looking at my little hydrangea tree out front this morning, I knew there was no time to waste in getting the ice-covered blooms off. I put the blooms in a bucket to dry and hope to use them in some of my holiday pots.

5 thoughts on “The Wrong Kind of Snow for Gardeners

  1. On the other hand, our new sod, laid down just a week ago along Union Street, is loving this heavy, wet snow.

    6th and Union was the last street in the “4th Street” infrastructure project this summer. In fact, they didn’t even start digging up our street and lawns until early October. We feared that we might be on over-the-ground temporary water until freeze-up. But the crews were very efficient and almost everything moved along like clockwork. The trees and sod arrived the first week of November. This snow cover will encourage the lush green sod to settle in for the long winter ahead.

  2. Oh, snow already…we’re still waiting, and I can wait awhile yet, too! I have so many things to finish up before the snow flies and hope better than half of the chores can be finished. Good advice about the hydrangeas, this is one chore I will tackle first.

  3. Margit — Good point about the sod (and I’m glad the city crews got it down in time). We did need the moisture, just not as pretty as I would like.

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