You’ve taken all the precautions we’ve suggested in these blogs, but there’s a nagging feeling that you can still do more to assure the health and safety of your trees and shrubs this winter. Here are some added precautions you can take.
The snow in your driveway is full of road salt and grime. Even if you never salt your driveway, it will still have salt carried on to it from the road. Surely, you’ve noticed the dirty snow that can solidify underneath your car and in the wheel wells. This can drop on to the driveway.
Dirty snow is very damaging to both the plants and the soil. You may not be able to completely prevent salt and grime from getting on your driveway but you can minimize the amount that gets on your plants and the soil in your planting beds.
Shovel snow carefully to prevent the grime and salt from dropping into your planting beds. When you see dark grime on your shovel, throw it away from your beds. You can use the same caution with a snow blower by manipulating the chute near planting beds and trees. If you have a “plow guy,” instruct him to put snow in designated spots away from your plantings.
Another precaution is to be careful where you walk. Avoid walking on soil or lawn that doesn’t have a layer of snow to act as a cushion. If the soil isn’t frozen, you can compact it when walking over it. If it doesn’t have snow cover, that melted snow is most likely in the soil and stepping on it is like stepping on a wet sponge. Your weight displaces the water in the soil pores and the particles are pushed together. If the ground is frozen but not covered with snow, you can break grass blades when you walk over them. When this condition exists, walking on frozen grass has the same effect as walking on dry, burnt grass in a typical summer. It breaks the blades.
Winter can be trying for all of us and we have to take extra precautions when walking, when driving and even when clearing snow. When those recommended steps above seem like an extra effort you don’t want to take, just remember that you can go inside your warm house when you finish. Your plants, on the other hand, can only stand there and cope with winter in the way nature equipped them. Making life easier for them is an inexpensive way to maximize the return on your landscaping investment.