Heavy Snow, Heavy Load

Anyone who has shoveled knows just how heavy snow can be, especially when it’s not the perfect powder. Wet, heavy snow is also a burden on shrubs and trees. It’s a heavy load that needs some tending.

Gardeners should step in to prevent heavy snow loads from damaging prized shrubs and small trees. It’s not difficult. All you need is a broom and the correct technique.

It’s tempting to brush snow from the tops of shrubs … but don’t. Pushing downward with any pressure may cause additional damage or breakage. Instead, gently maneuver the broom – either the business end or the long handle, depending on the amount of room available – under each snow laden branch. Gently … and I mean gently … lift upwards with a shaking motion.

I tend to start at the bottom branches to ease their load. If you start at the top of a shrub you are only adding to the already heavy load on lower branches. By starting at the bottom you release the load from the bottom up. Then you can go back and remove any snow that’s fallen from upper branches to those below.

My Pieris japonica had already suffered the loss of a small branch before I could remove its snow load. It looked a lot happier with the snow removed.

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This small mountain laurel was really buried. I could almost hear a sigh of relief as I cleared snow from its branches.

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Beech trees are really susceptible to snow loads. Stand back when gently shaking snow from their branches, or be prepared to become snow covered yourself.

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Even the woody shrubs without leaves benefit from having heavy snow gently cleared from their branches.

Connecticut gardens are sure to see more heavy, wet snows this season.  Make it a habit to pay your shrubs a bit of attention after each heavy snow. It’s a good reason to get a bit of fresh air and you just may save your shrubs from serious damage.

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