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How To Save Your Landscape From Snow


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This time of year is hard on gardeners and homeowners alike. Right now, many of us are concerned or crazed about the suffering of our shrubs.

First, the big December 25 storm started bowing down some branches. Then the small wet snow added a lot of visual sagging. The more recent ice and yesterday’s wet snow has caused our worry choo-choo  to almost leave its tracks! We can see limbs stuck to the ground with just their tips sticking up through the snow as if calling for a helping hand. We can see clear into the center of some shrubs in a way that gives us chills. Then there are the shrubs that have been completely flattened to the ground, appearing to be held there as if by some alien force.

We say “oh dear”, “oh no”, “oh my this can’t be right, this can’t be good”, “I need to do something”. Guess what! Here is what you should do: Nothing. That is not a typo. It is what you should do: Nothing.

Shrubs will slowly unstick themselves as the snow melts. That means slowly, by themselves. Do not try to help by prying, picking, pushing or pulling them. The shrub does not need your help, especially when your “help” is going to split the limb or snap it in half.

I know it’s hard, and you will make some mistakes. You will say, “oh this one is almost loose. I’ll be gentle, really I will.” Not gentle enough were you? It broke didn’t it? It bled sap for weeks, making you feel its quiet reproach every time you saw it.

Now you may wonder how I knew exactly what you should do. Well, there isn’t any need to get into details but really it is best to do nothing. Your shrubs will love you for it.

Verona resident Marjorie Williams is a professional gardener, garden coach and horticulturist. She has a diploma from The New York Botanical Gardens School of Professional Horticulture.

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