Protecting your Garden in the Snow


This winter, be careful when shoveling, plowing, or blowing snow. If you can’t remember where plantings are located, place posts with reflectors next to the plants. In addition to clearing off sidewalks and driveways, snow should be cleared off of trees and delicate shrubs, either with a broom or a hand held blower. This will prevent cold damage, breaking branches, and other issues that can be costly (or impossible!) to recover from come spring.

Snow or ice sliding off the roof may crush the plants below. If plants are already covered with deep, natural snow, this may cushion the impact of falling ice and protect the plants. If little snow is present, you can protect plants by placing teepee-shaped wooden frames over them.

Natural snowfall or windblown snow seldom result in plant injury. It’s usually the devices we use to remove snow that cause the most damage.

Avoid piling salty snow near plants or on lawns. If this is not possible, use one of the environmentally safe salts such as calcium chloride or an ordinary, inexpensive garden fertilizer, sand, or kitty litter mixed with equal parts of “safe” salt. If you are using salt on walks and drives, keep in mind that this, mixed with the snow and slush that is piled around plants, can leach into the soil and harm roots.