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Fend off snow damage

Fend off snow damage

Fend off snow damage by getting out into the garden after each heavy fall to check your plants and other structures are holding up well.

Snow isn't as harmful to plants as you'd think – in fact it can serve to protect them from cold damage as it has an insulating, blanketing effect. But a really heavy fall of snow causes problems due to its sheer weight, so take time to run through a simple post-snow checklist to keep damage to a minimum.

  • Start by walking round your garden to spot which trees and shrubs are holding a particularly heavy load of snow, and shake the branches of vulnerable to dislodge it. Don't forget hedges: snow can splay out the uppermost branches badly, an effect which lasts long after the cold weather has gone.
  • Use a broom to sweep snow from greenhouses, cloches and polytunnels to prevent covers and frames from getting distorted or even flattened by the snow.
  • Very architectural trees like fastigiate yews or arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) can be permanently pulled out of shape by snow, so to prevent this, tie them up – simply wind a rope around the tree, binding its branches in together so they can't trap snow. Remove it again in spring.