Hard to believe, but we didn’t get hit with any major snow this season until this week. Anywhere from 5 to 12 inches fell and the howling wind gave way to drifting snow and whiteouts. Usually by now we have at least a foot or two that has been hanging around for a few weeks.
While we are quite happy to not have to deal with the white stuff, a season without snow in an area that typically receives a fair amount can be detrimental to the garden.
Snow helps to insulate the ground. Without that added protection, the ground freezes deeper than usual, causing possible root damage to trees and shrubs. The snow insulation also helps to keep the earthworms and micro-bugs working on doing their thing deep below the surface.
Snow also helps protect perennial plants and fruit (like strawberries) and bulbs from the alternating thaw/freeze that we see in the winter. When the bare soil warms up from the direct sun, it tends to heave which can cause the plant roots to dry out or break or bring bulbs to the surface where they dry out and then don’t provide the spring blooms we love to see.
Winter wind can also dry out and damage perennials – a layer of snow helps to protect them from the harshness of the gusty chill.
Besides, it’s winter, it’s cold. Snow just makes sense!
(10 weeks until spring!)