Sunday, February 9, 2014

Plants & Snow: A Complicated Relationship

I've mentioned quite a bit that here in the Northeast, we've had a LOT of snow. As I type this, there's another 3 inches coming down on the ground. Funny, but whereas a few months ago we would have freaked out, now the announcement of that kind of precipitation is met with a shrug and a “Just 3 inches?”

Anyway, because of the ice storm we had last week, the family and I spent an hour or two outside yesterday, gently getting ice and snow off of our bushes. I know snow is a great insulator, but combined with ice, too much of it can pose a real danger to plants, making them more susceptible to breaking (for more on this, click here: Indeed, several of our arborvitae were bowed and touched the house. As we unburdened them, they gently started standing straight again – not completely, but well on their way. Similarly, Diva helped get some large chunks of snow off the massive azalea bush in front of the house. Not only will it keep the bush from cracking, but I think access to even the weaker Winter light will help the plant grow.

Indoors, the dry heat from our furnace combined with the heat given off by our fireplace, can really dry out houseplants. Instead of just using tap water, I've been using melted snow to water them. I was doing it to save water and because I know snow contains nutrients, such as nitrogen, that are beneficial to the plants. In doing some reading, I discovered that apparently there's even more benefits to using snow. According to the website Clean Air Gardening (, in experiments done at the Siberian Botanical Garden, it was found that veggies that were watered with melted snow “grow twice as fast as those fed regular water” and melted snow is actually easier on plants than regular water (here's the link to that article: All I do is fill a bucket with snow (obviously, make sure you take snow that's untainted by the salt you use on walkways) and put it in the basement to melt. After a few hours, I have what's been called “poor man's fertilizer” and it's free!

I'm tired of the snow and I hope it hasn't damaged my bushes too much. Using it to fertilize and water my plants gives me hope that something good will come out of all this white stuff on the ground. As with all relationships, the one between plants and snow isn't good or bad.  It's just, well, complicated.

Diva loves the snow.

Thanks so much for reading!  Please check in with me again, won't you?

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