Be Prepared and Be Gentle
Before you start assessing your yard for the effects of winter snow, stock up on tools (or sharpen up existing ones) and make a plan! Recall what you left in your garden over winter and what you expect to find. If you’re planning on doing any work, you need to wait until everything is completely thawed, or else you risk harming soil, plants, and possibly damaging your tools!
When the snow begins to melt, photograph or note where the snow melts first. The areas where snow melts first is the ideal place to plant bulbs and early spring flowers.
Tip: Don’t try to rush the thawing process with things like salt –– it could be deadly to your plants and yard!
Damage from Snow
Snow can cause harm to our yards and gardens, so it’s important to make sure you’re on top of any problems so you can troubleshoot early and have a good garden this year. If you notice matted-down yellow, gray, or pink grass, you could be dealing with types of snow mold. Rake up the area so that the grass can dry out more easily and grow in healthy. If the mold is severe enough, try filling in with grass seed.
While melting snow may cause some general distress to your yard (compacted soil, dead grass, dry areas), most of these are easily remedied with some general care during the spring and summer months. Remember to look for other snow-related hazards: snow falling off your roof, shed, or fencing could topple over delicate plants and shrubs. Try to remove it safely before that happens.
Damage from Winter Wind and Snowdrifts
Winter can take a toll beyond just melted snow! Check your garden for any damage from wind and snowdrifts such as broken branches or damaged hardscaping. Now is an ideal time to do any basic repairs to fencing, borders, or stonework. You can also gently remove some heavy snow drifts from trees and shrubs to speed up the process. However, be careful not to damage your strained plants. In fact, snow layers act as an insulator for many ground plants –– it can be your friend! Once most of the snow has melted, you’ll be able to tell if your plants and garden are good or if you’ll need to do some pruning and repairing.
Repair Damage from Wildlife
Different types of wildlife may have called your yard home during the chilly months. While the snow melts, check for signs of damage from birds, rodents, and squirrels. While they may be cute, they do occasionally muck up your hard garden work. Check for hidden nests, infestations, droppings, and anything that may wreak havoc on your gardening attempts during the spring. This may be a good time to improve fencing to redirect wildlife out of your precious petunias and into another habitat. If you’re hoping to coax more wildlife into your yard, now is a great time to repair, clean, or upgrade things like bird feeders and birdbaths.
Is Melted Snow Good for Plants?
Research on whether or not melted snow is good for your plants is a mixed bag. You should definitely not water your plants with icy cold water ever! While rainwater is your best bet, melted snow water isn’t likely to harm your plants, but it could slow down its growth due to heavier molecules in ice water. If you can, use rainwater whenever possible.
If you’re looking for more information on plants and melted snow in your Bettendorf garden, come visit us! We’ll help you troubleshoot any issues you have and get you ready for your best gardening season yet.