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February 9, 2017

We are into February and the extended forecast is for a snowy month. Please don’t tell me that you are surprised by this forecast. If it was the month of July and they were forecasting snow, yeah it would be surprising to hear the forecast. With snow in the forecast, what should you be doing to preserve your investment in the plants in your yard?

If you think back to the winter of 2014 – 2015, we had a lot of snow that needed to be shoveled off the roof of your house. In many cases, that shoveling dropped snow onto shrubs that were just under the roofline. Come the spring, there were many shrubs that were damaged by the snow load that was dropped on the plants. Hopefully we don’t get that kind of snow ever again. However, if you are shoveling snow off the front steps and you are dropping wet snow on your shrubs, you can do significant damage to your plants. The same goes for using a snow blower to clear walkways and driveways. Wet snow coming out of a snow blower chute and landing on trees and shrubs can do damage to your shrubs. Snowplows can also do damage to shrubs if the shrubs are not marked. I have plowed snow in a blizzard and I can tell you that at times you can’t tell where the driveway ends and the shrubs begin. For this reason, it is always a good idea to put in driveway markers in the fall.

No one likes to deal with snow removal, but by being careful with how you handle the snow, you can prevent damage to your plants.

So often in February, the snow eventually turns to ice. I’m sure you don’t want to fall on a slippery walkway, driveway or steps. This is why we use ice-melting product to soften the ice so that the ice can be removed. Once that treated ice melts in the spring, the ice melter goes into the soil. The ice melter can damage the roots of your plants. If you can throw that melted ice some place where it won’t damage plant roots in the spring, all the better. Since this isn’t always possible, you want to apply a product called horticultural gypsum onto the soil in those areas where the ice melter has been deposited. This product will help to flush the ice melter out of the soil before it has a chance to damage plant roots. It should be applied, in the early spring, just as soon as the snow melts and the ground has thawed out. You can also apply it to that strip of lawn near the road where ice-melting products were thrown back by the snowplows.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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