The Insulating Effects of Snow

Snow InsulationYou may have heard that snow is a good insulator for your landscape plants.  Well indeed it is!  A blanket of snow is composed of approximately ninety percent trapped air and ten percent water.  Snow serves the purpose of providing a protective barrier (insulation) separating plants from the lower temperatures around them.   Stored heat in the ground being radiated is trapped under the layer of snow; hence, maintaining plants at a slightly higher temperature than the surrounding environment. This creates the same effect as the insulation barrier in the walls of your home.   Mulch is also used as an insulating barrier for plants and the snow helps to further maintain the temperature of the soil.

Even when temperatures plummet the temperature under the snow will stay fairly constant around 32 degrees helping to protect underground roots from winter damage.   Besides forming a protective barrier, melting snow also provides a source of water for plants during the cold winter months.  With the frigid temperatures we have been experiencing it is good news that snow cover can be beneficial for your landscape and is nature’s natural insulator!

As Always…Happy Gardening!

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2014, All Rights Reserved

blog post divider 2

Preventing Tree Damage from Snow & Ice

WinterAs winter progresses there is an increased threat of snow and ice build up on the branches of trees and shrubs in the landscape. If snow piles up on your evergreens try to carefully brush it away as soon as possible before freezing to remove the excess weight from the branches. If the snow does not remove easily do not shake the branches. This can cause breakage and damage. If the tree or shrub is covered with ice permit nature to take its course and allow the ice to melt naturally. If your landscape does suffer any damage from winter storms it is recommended to remove any broken limbs to avoid stress and disease to the plant. This can be done when the weather allows.  Preventive measures that can be taken to avoid winter ice damage include keeping your trees properly pruned throughout the year.  Fast growing trees and trees with horizontal branching such as ‘Bradford’ Pear are more prone to damage from excess weight.   Prune away any weakened or overweight branches in fall before snow arrives.

Frost Heaving: In freezing temperatures soil around your plants may be subject to frost heaving. This is when ice forms underneath the soil and expands upwards from the ground causing plants such as perennials to push upwards exposing the crown. Heuchera (Coral Bells) and Liriope are especially prone to this type of damage. As a preventive measure apply mulch finishing to your garden beds. To remedy, slightly tap the soil back down, and brush the mulch back around the exposed crown of the plant to protect it. Following these few simple steps will help to prevent any unwanted winter damage to your landscape plantings.

Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2013, All Rights Reserved

blog post divider 6 (2)

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: