Although we hope winter is on the wane, several more inches of snow are possible. Believe it or not, we should be grateful for snow! It not only insulates plants from cold but also from early warmth that could trick them into growing too soon. Consider it a down jacket for your precious plants.
We sometimes worry if heavy snow and ice bend branches down. What to do? The best thing is to do nothing. Let snow and ice melt on their own. Shaking and brushing brittle branches will likely do more damage.
Some evergreens have branches that easily break; those should be tied up before an ice storm. Just bundle their stems together and tie them loosely with fabric or twine.
Be careful using salt and ice-melting chemicals. Most dry out plants causing browned-out evergreens or even worse–dead shrubs. When you shovel your walk or driveway, make sure you don’t pile contaminated snow on your shrubs.
When spring arrives, take time to inspect your trees and shrubs to see how they fared. Make notes and plan your strategy for next winter.
The Morton Arboretum is a wonderful resource practically in our backyard. Consult their website for additional information on caring for trees and shrubs. And visit when you can!