Is snow good or bad for lawns and landscapes?

Is snow good or bad for lawns and landscapes?

By: Gary Garner III

In general snow is beneficial for lawns and landscapes!

Most people either love or hate snowy weather. I personally hope for a white Christmas and one or two “good” snowfalls! I define good as 6 inches or more (preferably more) of snow! Don’t send an icy wintery mixed mess my way. Pure snow only, please. 

Before we jump into the many benefits there is one thing to watch out for. Assuming you have planted trees and shrubs that are hardy for your zone, your worry is not cold weather associated with snow. It’s actually the weight of snow and/or ice that does the most damage. In most cases shrubs will pop back up once snow and ice melts however if a shrub’s trunk splits, you will likely be looking to replace it come spring.

And now for the many benefits:

  • Insulation – A snow blanket! 

Snow acts as a blanket and helps protect tree roots and shrubs from extreme cold. Added bonus: a blanket of snow prevents wind from drying the soil out as quickly.

  • Snow = Winter’s irrigation! 

A slow soaking watering is a plant’s preferred “drink”. Rain tends to run off and not soak as deeply. On the other hand, melting snow is the ideal watering method!

  • Nutrients!

You may have heard that snow is free fertilizer. There is some truth to that statement though snow alone will not provide enough nutrients – additional fertilizer is still needed. Snow collects Nitrogen, Sulfur, and other nutrients as it falls through the atmosphere and brings those nutrients to the ground!

  • Beauty!

Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of evergreens contrasting against the white backdrop. Everything looks more visible, from the mountains, to the bright red holly berries outside your kitchen window!

  • Time to plan!

Snow days are great for sitting by the fire and planning your spring landscaping and gardening projects! Daydream of warmer days working in the landscape or harvesting vegetables. A little planning in the winter months goes a long way towards a successful lawn, garden, and landscape!

Whether you love snow or dread snow, you can rest assured that snow has far more benefits than downsides for your lawn and landscape!