Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Let it snow!

If you love snow, I forgive you.

I'm not a fan of the stuff. Woke up this morning to it anyway. My family knows how I feel about the use of the 'S' words in my home.
     As much as I hate to admit it, the reality is that snow is good. If you live in an area where your snow lasts through the winter it becomes a great insulator for the roots of your perennial plants. A lot of damage is done when temperature switch drastically from warm to cold to warm. The plants are confused and can try to come out too soon. The air spaces in the snow are part if it insulation property, so try not to walk on it where you have plants that you are wanting protected. Compacting the snow reduces this quality. 
     Also the freezing and thawing can cause the ground to heave and push the root systems too close to the top and then another freezing can kill them off. This is why mulching is so important, it also helps to prevent the sudden changes in ground temp. 
     As snow melts it deposits small amounts of Nitrogen into the soil, not a lot but every little bit of natural help is good. If you mulched your plants in the fall the slow melt of the snow can be absorbed into the soil and held for much longer than in barren ground. If you live in an area where water is not naturally available in the summer months, having any that can be stored for later is a benefit. Having rain barrels or tanks set up to collect the melt off of roofs is an easy starter project. Or if you got more adventurous last year and built burms and swales the snow melt can collect in these areas. (This is an idea that I plan to use this summer. I've just begun to learn about it through the @openpermacultureschool.com)  
     The other side of this is that if your planning to reseed your lawn in the spring, do it now. The heaving of exposed yard will plant the seeds for you.
     Watch your bushes and trees when it snows heavily. The weight of the snow can damage the branches. Evergreen bushes that collect a lot of snow can be broken and bent out of shape. Wrapping the bush with string or wire can help to protect it, also gently brushing the snow off with a broom. For the most part try not to mess with ice. Ice also works as an insulator and trying to break it off the plant can do more damage than good.
With all of that said, I'm going to grab my seed catalog, some coffee and my blankie and curl up on the couch until it goes away.