In a few years France will experience repeated snowfalls in winter between November and March. Feared if it hits the road, snow is generally not harmful to plants. On the contrary, it forms an insulating coat that protects perennials in beds or pots from frost. What are its advantages and disadvantages in the garden?
Does snow damage plants?
Yes and no. Yes for conifers and for all evergreen shrubs. Appearances are indeed deceptive. The snow is not as light as you might think. By accumulating on the foliage, this mass of water and air deforms the branches and eventually breaks them. The solution to avoiding this damage is to shake the branches with a rake.
The bare antlers of deciduous trees are not afraid of snowfall. However, watch out for branches that are already horizontal, where the accumulation of snow can lead to breakage.
Does snow damage the lawn?
Yes and no. It really all depends on the days before the snowfall. If the grass is frozen to snowfall, too much rainfall or stepping on the lawn can break the knives. If snow covers the lawn for too long, the lawn can turn yellow. But don’t worry, the first spring shoot followed by the first mowing of the season will quickly make this damage disappear.
Does it make sense to remove snow from flower beds, planters and balconies?
Clearly no. Snow crystals trap a large amount of air in their structure, which has excellent insulating properties. The snow cover effectively protects the stumps of perennials, especially when temperatures drop sharply after snowfall. So let the snow lie while you wait for the warmth. The above-ground parts of the plant are at risk of suffocation. Again, don’t worry, spring cleaning the bed or planters and the new growth will remove any damage.
After all, snow brings more benefit than harm to the garden, which the saying goes perfectly: “February snow is worth manure juice”!