Should I knock the snow off my plants and trees?

February 25, 2010|By Ellen Nibali | Special to The Baltimore Sun

Question: When branches are covered with snow should I knock it off? My shrubs were bent down to the ground.

Answer: Natural snowfall is nature's great winter insulator, protecting frozen branches and roots from extreme temperatures and its weight seldom causes damage. Even when bent double by snow, the resiliency of most plants is astonishing to witness, as they spring back upright when snow is gone. However the weight of ice and very heavy wet snow can break branches. When snow removes easily by lightly brushing branches with your hand or a broom — brush upward -- doing so will not damage your plants. However, partially melted snow that has refrozen or icy snow adheres tightly. Knocking them off can cause worse breakage.

The motion of shoveling, snowblowing or plowing snow causes it to become more dense. Try to avoid piling this heavier kind of snow on plants. Plants already encased in natural snow should be somewhat protected from the added weight. Also avoid shoveling snow mixed with salt onto plants.

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