Snow Insulates Plants

January 8th, 2006

I’ve heard it many times, snow insulates. Both plants and people (eskimos live in it afterall). If you’re stuck outside in the winter, burrowing into the snow can save your life, and a heavy snow cover can also save your plants from the biting cold of winter.

Its said that when winter starts with a heavy snowfall less hardy plants do better. Well for me this year it started that way and then all the snow melted, leaving me with a unique opportunite to see just how much snow insulates.

What you see in the picture is a yellow iceplant, hardy to zone 4 or 5. Typically if temperates get down to around 0, which they do in Michigan, this plant will die down to the ground only to reemerge in Spring. Its draping over a brick retaining wall I have. When we had our heavy snow it covered the ground up to around the first brick or so, and it was on top of the bricks. In short, only the area currently brown was exposed. Obviously everywhere that snow covered was protected from the bitter chill that followed the snow. Its right there, in green and brown, snow insulates.

So remember this, and pray for a big snow early in the season if some of your plants are questionable. You might also consider piling up some snow on top of plants that you cannot otherwise insulate.

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