Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘spring snow’

Robins in a peach tree trying to figure out where spring went

Robins perch in one of our peach trees trying to figure out where spring went!

Daffodil foliage pokes out of the snow.

Daffodils poke out of the snow.

What happened to spring?

The day before yesterday was a beautiful, sunny, 63o day and then less than 24 hours later, the temperature tumbled and it started snowing! This morning we were buried in over 6” of snow! CRAZY! I guess winter wasn’t quite done with us yet.

Actually the precipitation started out as rain but quickly changed over to a heavy, wet snow as the temperature continued to fall throughout the afternoon. The snow came down fast and furious and it wasn’t long before the trees and shrubs were covered. It basically stuck and froze to the wet branches. By morning, the evergreens were bending low under the weight of the heavy snow that was frozen fast to their foliage and branches.

Small American holly bent under the weight of snow

Small American holly completely
bent over under the weight of snow

The poor hollies and azaleas in front of our house were quite splayed out under their burden of snow and a young American holly tree growing along the driveway was bent over all the way to the ground. I’m sure these will all spring back up once the snow melts later this week but it was sad to see them in such a state! In situations like this, where a combination of snow and ice has accumulated on your trees and shrubs, it is important to let them melt off naturally. You risk doing much more damage by trying to knock the snow and ice off.

Don’t be tempted!

China Girl holly buried and flattened by the heavy snow

This China Girl holly flattened by the heavy snow should spring back up.

Helleborus covered with snow. These too will pop back up once the snow melts.

These helleborus will pop back up once the snow melts.

Asparagus bed covered with a blanket of snow.

Asparagus bed – buried!

In anticipation of the coming snowfall, I went out to the vegetable garden and cut back the old stems of the asparagus and fertilized it with Espoma Garden-tone. I also mulched the entire bed with some nice composted leaves. Now as the snow melts, it will carry some good nutrients down to the roots.

We also did some other garden maintenance while the ground was still fairly dry – probably things we should have done last fall but …

Trellises ready and waiting!

Trellises are ready and waiting!

Eric pulled up the tomato and cucumber trellises and stacked them against the pea fence for later while I pulled up last year’s pepper and eggplant stalks and did some weeding. I can’t believe that the chickweed and henbit are already in flower! Yikes! I got them all grubbed out and raked up along with some of the other old garden debris.

Everything was looking pretty good and now it’s all buried under snow.

HA! Poor man’s fertilizer!

It seems that spring is on hold for a few days. It will be back soon enough, though. Don’t you worry! Perhaps this is old man winter’s last hurrah!

Time will tell …

Until next time – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The woods were beautiful!

The woods were beautiful!

The dogwood buds wore hats of snow for St. Patty's Day!

The dogwood buds wore hats of snow for St. Patty’s Day!

Read Full Post »

The snow was beautiful but my daffodils were bent over from the weight.

The snow was beautiful but my daffodils were bent over from the weight. Our little "mouse house" was warm and cozy, though!

It snowed here yesterday. Not a lot but enough to cover the ground, the shrubs, and the trees and make everything look really pretty.

The Helleborus foetidus was nodding a bit more than usual under the weight of the snow. It will bounce back easily.

The Helleborus foetidus was nodding a bit more than usual under the weight of the snow but it will bounce back easily.

“Poor man’s fertilizer”, my mom would say of this late season snowfall. It’s not really late for snow in many areas of the country but here in Virginia, it is a little unusual to get accumulating snow this late in March.

But what about spring snow being “poor man’s fertilizer” – is there any truth in this old saying?

Well, in a word – yes! The fact is that any precipitation, be it snow or rain, picks up and accumulates some nitrogen and other elements as it falls through the air and then deposits them on the land. These nutrients seep into the soil where they can become available to our plants. Keep in mind though; we’re not talking about a lot of extra nitrogen here.

Time will tell if the poor daffodils will recover from the snow. I should have gone out with my shears on Saturday!

Time will tell if the poor daffodils will recover from the snow. I should have gone out with my shears on Saturday!

So, if rain also contains some nutrients, why does snow, not rain, carry this reputation?

Good question! The main reason is that snow lays on the ground and melts slowly, usually releasing moisture and nutrients into the soil over an extended period of time. It’s like nature’s slow release “fertilizer”! The reason that a spring snow is specifically called “poor man’s fertilizer” is because snow in the spring typically falls on unfrozen ground and therefore all the good stuff can percolate slowly into the soil with very little runoff. In fact, this is one of the drawbacks to rain. Often our rain comes fast and furious or at least faster than the ground can absorb at one time and a lot of the nitrogen and other nutrients held in the rain drops are carried away in the runoff. When snow melts slowly, the water and nutrients can be absorbed into the soil. Some farmers would actually go out and plow the fields after a spring snow just to incorporate the “extra nutrients” into the ground.

This spring snow has come at a time when many of our plants are beginning to come out of their dormant period. I’m sure this little bit of extra nitrogen, however small, and the slow, even watering of the melting snow will surely be welcomed!

Until next time – Happy Gardening!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: