Snow falling softly over shrubs and trees, covering perennials and stopping fall season chores. The white blanket delicately lies over the garden, putting all to sleep. The garden appears so calm and quiet. Gardens are dormant in the winter, right?
There is lots of winter garden activity, but not all is seen. Before the dirt freezes, plant roots are continuing to absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil. Warm winter days pull moisture from foliage and evergreen needles. Snow acts as a natural temperature moderator, stopping the ground from warming too fast and shielding plant roots from cold, bitter temperatures.
Foliage Offer Refuge
Shrub and perennial foliage provide a lot of refuge for small winter wildlife and birds. Also, last season’s plant seeds are a food buffet for hungry critters. The tender bark of young shrubs and trees is quite beautiful to animals seeking a snack.
Safeguard your defenseless shrubs and trees by creating a barrier with metal mesh, chicken wire, or plastic tree protector. This will stop snow from mounding up around younger shrubs and trees as well as stop animals from using the snow as a ladder to get access to upper parts of your plants.
On a side note, this is also why homeowners need to get stump removal service so animals will not have a stump to make a home.
While you might have warmer temperatures during winter months, plants aren’t ready to begin growing. Swelling buds on shrubs and trees might look as if it’s spring. But, as long as the soil is still cool, growth is at a standstill. This safeguards plants from hard freezes that Rochester will probably experience in March and perhaps beyond.
As you look out your window on those dreary, cold winter days, and desire warm spring weather, bear in mind, your garden is still working diligently.
Dormancy is crucial for plants in the northern landscape since if they were actively growing in cold temps, their leaves and stems would freeze, killing or destroying them. They would fight to thrive in the reduced sunlight of shorter days. Their roots would know it’s practically impossible to get water from frozen soil.
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