Winter Tips for Gardening
Winter Gardening Tips Clearing snow from Shrubs
The advice to clear snow from shrubs is good sound practical advice. In earlier years I had ignored it, thinking it was just over complicating things when you could just stay indoors in the warm, but snow does cause damages to the garden, especially shrubs. The problem with snow is that it is heavy, and because of this it weighs down the shrub branches and causes damage.
|In this first photo (above left) of a Cistus (Rock rose) the shrub's natural habit is open branching from the centre and the snow has flattened it to the ground. The snow is heavy with the shrub's branches on the ground and if the snow freezes, it will freeze these branches solid to the snow on the ground and they can easily snap or get damaged. Clearing the snow allows the branches to lift back up again, releasing the tension from the branches, photo above right|
Cold weather can present problems and it's a good idea to protect water butts against the winter cold. The reason is that the water inside the water butt freezes and expands. Result clearly shown in the image left it can split the plastic and the entire water-butt will fracture. The photo shows the full extent of the problem which happened during a sustained very cold period. Caught out by the sudden very cold weather and the complete water-butt froze and fractured. An expensive oversight.
To avoid this problem, before the bad weather strikes disconnect and drain the water butt, and leave it disconnected until the worst weather has passed. If you have forgotten to do it it can be drained at any stage if there is a risk that bad weather may still arrive. To freeze a large solid a mass of water requires a spell of sub-zero temperatures, which can be experienced in December & January with temperatures remaining below freezing for many days.
Simply re connect the water butt in the early spring. Even though we do get frost and snow, this sort of damage is caused by very low temperatures for a several days which generally will have passed by early March.
Ever wondered about the advice not to walk on the grass in snow and frost?
It's true that walking on the frost frozen grass can cause damage to the grass. This is because when the grass is frozen the leaves are brittle, with a result that when the leaves are stepped on the grass is prone to snap and break. The image left shows flat bits where the grass has been walked on which will leave brown marks where the grass is damaged, and may look unsightly in the spring. Given how hard it is to create a decent lawn its worth resisting walking on it during the very cold weather.