Will Crofton Shrubbery Survive This Snow?

After several years of nurturing the azaleas in front of my house, now they are “just right” – The six little twigs planted a dozen years ago are now full-sized shrubs that mark the official beginning of Spring in my yard with their beautiful pink blooms lining my front walk.  I can’t help wondering what their fate will be after weeks buried below 3-4 feet of snow.

There’s little doubt about some of the evergreens in Crofton, however, with their bending trunks and broken branches. Many of them cannot be saved, even with careful pruning of those broken branches.

If only our crystal ball had been in better focus, we might have thought to do a little research in preparation for Crofton’s 44+ inches of snow over the past week.  We would have found suggestions on the websites of states more accustomed to heavy snows, such as this info from Washington State:

Upright conifers such as yews, cypress, and arborvitae may be pruned lightly to reduce any sprawling branches. Then wrap the plants lightly with twine, winding it up the tree. Tie it loosely. This wrapping process keeps vertical evergreens such as those in hedges from collecting a lot of snow in the centers of the plants and falling open. Often that damage spoils the look of a neat hedge.  Remove the wrapping when mild weather arrives.

Snow can be s a very good insulator against chilling temperatures that may injure plants, so take heart.  The University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science reports that…

Snow on the ground prevents injury to roots, which generally can’t withstand extreme cold. The roots of most landscape plants will be injured at soil temperatures below ten degrees F with more sensitive perennials injured at soil temperatures just below freezing. Snow acts as an insulator or blanket, as do mulches, and is one of the best mulches for winter protection.

However, you want to be careful to avoid blowing or shoveling any snow on shrubbery, because that will typically be much heavier than natural snowfall and more likely to damage your shrubbery.

As to removing snow from your plants, experts offer contradictory advice: On the one hand, they suggest you carefully remove snow from your shrubbery, using a gloved hand to take it off the individual branches.  On the other hand, plants covered with deep natural snow may help to cushion your shrubbery from any snow falling off a nearby roof.

There’s little doubt that there will be some damage to Crofton’s shrubbery and trees from the past week’s snow.  We probably won’t know just how extensive it is, however, until the snow melts (I promise, it will eventually!) and new Spring growth begins to fill in where branches have broken off.

Check out this Photo Tour of Crofton during the aftermath of our most recent snow storm.

%d bloggers like this: