The Wonders of Wisconsin’s Winter Landscape
After the last snowstorm of 7+ inches of snow… some of you might be thinking…
Whyyyy do I still live in this Wisconsin landscape? What is the point of snow? Is this necessary?! Does snow serve any good purpose for my plants?!
- Snow is nature’s way of offering a layer of insulation to plants from the extreme cold or fluctuating temperatures.
- It offers a more stable environment when the temperatures vary greatly in a short period of time. Most damage done to plants is generally in the early fall or late spring if there is not a layer of snow to provide protection.
- In Taylor’s Encyclopedia of Gardening, snow is called “the poor man’s fertilizer.” When it comes through the atmosphere, nitrogen and sulfur attach to the flakes. Then during the melting period in spring, these elements are sent into the soil and absorbed by plants. ANd of course, nitrogen is essential to your plant’s overall health.
- Snowfall lures more birds and animals to the food sources that you’ve set out for them since their natural food sources are more covered. This means that you will see more action at your feeders and birdbaths.
Heavy snow can split columnar shrubs and trees and the added weight can cause branches to break, especially with bitter freezing temperatures and strong winter winds.
How do I protect my plants from the ravages of winter?
Gently remove snow as soon as possible after a snowfall, before it completely freezes to the branches. Use a broom to reach higher branches that may get weighted down.
Hopefully you’ve already watered deeply in the fall to prevent drying out. You can also offer your plants some physical barrier protection from any salt source if they’re more susceptible.