The Gentle Side of the Rough Winter
For devotees of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the bitter cold, extreme snowfall and ice-coated landscapes of the winter of 2013-2014 were no surprise. The frosty forecast called for below-normal temps and above-normal precipitation, which is exactly what most of us got.
“Snow acts as an insulator,” says Landscape Horticulturist Shawn Fitzgerald of The Davey Institute, “so in spite of the polar vortices and extreme weather we’ve had, we’re really not expecting out-of-the-ordinary impacts.”
If you are impacted, however, blame ice, heavy snowfall, road salt or a combination of these. Here, Fitzgerald explains each culprit and offers the Davey recommended remedy.
The Culprit: A large accumulation of snow and ice can weigh down trees or shrubs, causing them to split. Once a tree or shrub is split, chances of survival are greatly reduced.
The Remedy: When it comes to ice, let Mother Nature do her usual job of melting it off trees and shrubs over time. Then Davey crews can do some light pruning, if necessary, to remove dead or damaged limbs.
The Culprit: Too much snow on the turfgrass can lead to fungal growth known as snow mold. The result is brown-looking patches in the turfgrass.
The Remedy: Davey crews will “rake it and break it,” allowing additional air circulation, which helps dry out conditions and assist in turfgrass recovery.
The Culprit: Road salt is the #1 winter problem for plants. Telltale signs of road salt damage include delayed leafing, marginal browning and a scorched look on trees and shrubs, and dead-looking turfgrass.
The Remedy: Your Davey representative will take a soil sample; if salt injury is indicated, crews will flush out the soil. For roadside plants and sidewalk landscape areas, consider an enhancement or replacement plan featuring salt-tolerant plant material, shrubs and ground cover like roses, mugo pines and candy tuff.