Handling Winter Damage
Taking these precautions now will help keep your plants safe from winter damage and allow them to flourish when the time is right.
Dealing with lots of ice and snow is normal for winters here in our area. Winter ice can be pretty cruel and devastating to your plants, shrubs and trees. It may be very tempting to go out and break the ice off that you see hanging from the branches or shake away the snow, but resist doing this at it will more than likely cause more damage to the plant. Letting the ice melt is the best option for the health of the plant. While it’s true that heavy, wet snows and ice often cause broken branches, the snow itself will not hurt landscape plants. Snow is an excellent insulator that protects plants from low temperatures that may injure them. Snow on the ground insulates the roots from extremely low temperatures. Roots of most landscaped areas are injured when the soil temperature drops too low. Snow and mulches will help insulate the soil from extreme low air temperatures.
Once the ice has melted from perennials and shrubs, you can remove any rotten foliage and broken stems. Wait until spring to cut or tidy the plant any further. You may be anxious to trim it up now to make it look nice, but doing so will encourage new growth too early which can be damaged by any adverse weather still to come. Just when you think winter is finally over … it strikes again! Trimming too early can result in few or no buds and no new growth in the spring.
With normal winters here being cold, wet and icy, it is important then to choose plants that suit the environment and the area in which they are being planted. If a plant is susceptible to wind damage, then do not plant it in an area where the wind is strong or forms a wind tunnel. Choose your plants to suit the environment they are expected to flourish in.
If you have plants close to the road and you notice dried salt on them from passing cars or snow ploughs, wait for warmer temperatures and gently hose of the excess salt on the leaves and stems.