Here in Chicago, we’ve had little to no snow.  None has stuck with temperatures ranging in the 30s and 40s so far this December.  Not bad for Chicago, but let’s take a look at the benefits and non-benefits of snow in relation to our gardens.

Snow, Uh Oh

  • Heavy snow can break branches on trees and shrubs.
  • Snow cover provides no open ground for birds to search for food.

Snow, Yay

  • A thick layer of snow insulates the ground.  Without snow, the soil can thaw and freeze several times and cause the ground to heave, breaking plants fragile root systems.
  • Snow keeps moisture in the soil.
  • A shimmering layer of snow really enhances a winter scene, providing an outline of last summer’s beauty.  Ornamental grasses and evergreens stand out.
  • Snow cover and winter chill add to the silence and offer a time of reflection important for any artist readying him/herself for next year’s grand garden design.

Don’t Forget!

  • Provide suet and bird seed for our feathered friends.  It takes lots of calories to stay warm out there.
  • Cut up the Christmas tree and lay it as mulch.  Remember, if you already have snow on the ground, don’t lay mulch on top of the snow.

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