Now that winter is officially here I just thought I would point out a few things that many people may not know.
Yeah, the UK doesn’t handle snow very well. B-)
Please don’t walk on snow covered grass!
When I worked for the Council one of the biggest problems was damage to grass from people walking on it when it was snowing or frosty.
When you walk on snow covered grass you damage the top layer of growth. The snow will normally cover the plant and, in a way, protect it. It will insulate it and keep it safe. When you walk on it you damage the plant AND force cold snow and ice into the crown.
Now one of the good things is that the grass should come back in spring, but if enough people walk on it the damage can be irreparable.
Snow laden bowers
This is my Cotinus coggygria (Smoke bush). As you can see it was totally overflowing with heavy snow and the branches have since been weighed down. If the snow is too heavy it can damage or even snap branches. There are two schools of thought on dealing with this.
One is to prop up branches.
The other is to simply brush off the excess snow and let nature do the rest.
Personally I go with the latter. Nature knows more than you or I do. When you push the branches back up you risk doing more damage than would otherwise have happened. The plant will naturally lift the branches on their own. All you are doing is removing the weights.
As you can see from my Ceanothus it has plenty of snow on it but is in no danger. If you were to swipe off the snow you would risk damaging the possibly frozen growing tips and buds.
Gritting your paths.
In general clearing and gritting your paths is a good idea… But if you start gritting you NEED to keep it up. Don’t let the path freeze once the grit has cleared. It may turn into an ice rink if water settles then freezes.
Also, be careful where you scatter your salt/grit. On paths is great, casting it wide onto plants and onto soil is not so good. You may not suffer problems but grit/salt on plants is NOT good.
Also bear in mind that the salt will dissolve in melted snow and run off into beds, so try to avoid salting as much as you can. If you have elderly or infirm family or friends then it will always be better to clear and grit.