Whether you get the occasional snowstorm or live in the Deep Freeze portions of the country, you may worry about your plants as your garden settles down for a long winter’s nap. Is it OK if snow is weighing down all those flowering shrubs you planted last year? Does ice damage plants? Should you brush the snow off? Or just hope for the best? At the most macro level, is snow bad for plants?!
While there’s nothing you can do about the amount of snow or cold your area experiences, you can take heart that nature’s been doing this a very, very long time. “Plants have existed for millions of years without our help,” says Sam Schmitz, display garden horticulturalist with Ball Horticultural. “If you choose a plant that it suited for your USDA Hardiness zone, chances are it will be just fine.” (Find your USDA Hardiness zone here, for future planting.)
But while plants are resilient, that doesn’t mean there won’t be the occasional (unwelcome!) surprise, even if you chose plant materials carefully. “In my area, landscapers used to plant Leyland cypresses as a windbreak. They’re typically hardy in zones 6 to 10,” says Thomas Ford, commercial horticulture educator, Penn State University Extension. “Then we had two zone 5-type winters in a row, and we lost almost every Leyland cypress in the county.”
Ahead, here’s what else you need to know about your snow-covered garden: