Help plants cope with the snow

The Daily Telegraph - Gardening - - Front Page -

Snow is good news for some plants and bad news for oth­ers. Snow pro­tects peren­nial plants that have re­treated un­der­ground from harsh tem­per­a­tures. It suits bulbs too: they gen­er­ally wel­come the snow melt once bet­ter weather ar­rives.

Ev­er­green plants, although fine un­der fresh pow­dery snow, can be dam­aged by the sheer weight of wet snow once a thaw sets in. You can ei­ther knock snow off as soon as it ar­rives or re­move it with a gen­tle push once you sense a thaw set­ting in.

Conifers or hedges may be­come mis­shapen un­der the weight of snow. To re­shape them, bind them up with garden twine and canes, and leave in place for three to six months.

Flimsy garden struc­tures such as fruit cages of­ten bear the brunt of heavy snowfall. Ide­ally, over­head nets should have been re­moved in late au­tumn – but of­ten aren’t. Shake off any ac­cu­mu­lated snow and store the nets.

Avoid prun­ing, wa­ter­ing or feed­ing plants at this time of year. Dor­mancy is what pro­tects them from the el­e­ments, so en­cour­ag­ing fresh growth is not help­ful.

Raise plants in pots off the ground to pre­vent roots from freez­ing, re­move saucers to en­sure plants don’t stand in water, and wrap the whole thing in bub­ble wrap or hes­sian if you want to be dou­bly sure.

Don’t walk on the lawn when it is frosty, as it dam­ages the grass. If you have plants in the garden that al­ready look frosted (i.e. droop­ing, black­ened fo­liage), and are not sure what to do, leave them alone. They will prob­a­bly die back but, if peren­nial, they will reshoot in spring.

It’s prob­a­bly too late to re­vive frost-ten­der plants, so start mak­ing plans on what to plant in the gap next spring. This is best done in­doors, by a roar­ing fire, with a se­lec­tion of 2013 seed cat­a­logues. Sea­sons seed feeder, and a bag of high-en­ergy Supreme seed.

To en­ter, email com­pe­ti­tion@ na­tures­feast.co.uk with “Tele­graph Com­pe­ti­tion” in the sub­ject, in­clud­ing your name, ad­dress and con­tact phone num­ber. Win­ners will be picked from en­tries re­ceived be­fore noon on Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 1.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Na­ture’s Feast, call 0800 093 9123 or see na­tures­feast.co.uk.

Win­ter friendly: knock heavy snow off ev­er­green plants

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