Caring for your garden under snow

Caring for your garden under snow

by Daniel Woodhouse

I think it's safe to say these past couple of weeks has seen a cold spell hit us in Lincolnshire and around the country. Dare I say it snow may be on its way (if it hasn't arrived since writing this). A garden is a truly beautiful sight when dusted with a covering of fresh snow. The view is a personal favourite and at the sight of the first flake I'm suddenly eight years old again. Sadly once the snow begins to thaw, it can leave damage to your garden and make your job come spring a lot more difficult. So spare a thought for your poor garden and with some simple preparations you shouldn't have any problems.

As I've mentioned previously, always avoid walking on frosty or snow-covered grass. By walking on it you risk breaking the blades that can stunt future growth, but more importantly you will compact the snow around the grass, which will keep it colder for longer once the soil begins to warm. This can lead to the Snow Mold fungus growing which will begin to kill off patches of your lawn.

If you have paths in your garden, avoid gritting or laying salt where possible. The sodium in table salt is harmful to plants in excess and although unlikely you'll use enough, it may alter the salinity of the soil which certain plants are sensitive to. Gritting salt, which is made of calcium chloride is generally harmless to plants but again excessive amounts can cause damage.

If you need to clear pathways then consider a snow shovel which is wider than your standard garden shovel in the shed, plus the plastic pan won't scratch your pathway. If you have a larger garden or a driveway, consider buying a snow blower. They are relatively inexpensive a will save you many hours of hard work.

Carefully remove snow from any fragile tree branches or plants as the extra weight can cause the stems and branches to break and may not always grow back. Do this periodically to avoid the risk of a sudden breakage. Also try wrapping potted plant pots in some bubble wrap to help insulate the soil and help prevent prolonged freezing; and it's best to leave any watering or feeding until thawed to avoid over watering your plants.

The trick is not to do anything drastic and treat the garden with respect. If you have any exotic flora then take the necessary precautions, otherwise more native species should be more than capable of standing the cold snaps and leave you time to enjoy Mother Nature at her best.
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