Wintertime isn’t fun for everyone. For some people, it just means having to bear with the chilling cold and snow, wearing heavy and suffocating clothes, and having to clear their driveways, yards, and gardens everyday. However, have you ever stopped to think about the benefits of snow in the garden? Well, you will be surprised to know that fluffy layer of snow brings more good than harm to your garden and the best way to deal with it would be to let nature run its course.
8 Benefits of Snow in the Garden
1. Aesthetic Value
You cannot deny the immense beauty that comes with snowfall. It transforms your garden and yard into an enchanted winter wonderland. Ornamental grasses and seed heads are crowned with snow, while evergreens look even brighter. Likewise, paths, benches, and arbors are clearly highlighted in this light-altered and still weather.
2. Good Source of Nutrients for Your Garden
Snow contains essential nutrients that aid in plant development. These are nitrogen, sulphur, and other trace elements that seem to be in more quantities in snow than in rain. So, when the snow melts, the nutrients are released into the soil and absorbed by the plants, thus facilitating their growth.
3. Excellent Soil Humidifier
This is perhaps the greatest advantage among the benefits of snow in the garden. Due to the physical consistency of snow, it sits on the ground after having fallen, unlike rain which continually flows underground after saturating the ground. As a consequence of this, snow slowly releases moisture to the ground, which reaches to deeper levels of soil as it melts. Moreover, it acts as mulch over your garden, as it preserves its ideal humidity levels and temperature.
4. Provides a Conducive Environment for Microorganisms
According to the University of Colorado and the Norwegian University of Life Science, some organisms are more active under snow. As such, they are able to break down grass clippings and plant litter more efficiently, thus creating more nutrients for the garden.
5. Insulates the Garden Against Harsh Weather Effects
According to the University of Nebraska, snow forms a blanket over your garden landscape, protecting your plants from thawing and freezing. It is an effective insulator due to the air spaces in snowflakes. Without that, the soil would freeze, thus damaging the root systems of your plants. Furthermore, snow protects plants from defrosting quickly as a result of the morning sun, which would lead into plant cells rupturing.
6. Enhances the Physical Structure of Soil
In a study that was done at the Chinese Agricultural University led by X Deng, it was found that freezing and thawing significantly increased plough’s pan porosity and hydraulic conductivity, while reducing its bulk density. This means that the roots are able to penetrate easily in lighter and more porous soil, hence yielding better plant development in the spring.
7. Controls Blossoming of Plants
During winter, there are instances when there is abundant sunlight. This might, in turn, trigger some plants’ bulbs to break dormancy and sprout during that time, thus exposing them to harsh weather conditions and eventually leading to their wilting. However, snow delays these plants from blooming at the wrong time by cooling their bulbs. This prepares them adequately for spring, where they can magnificently blossom with an array of wonderful colors. In addition, snow protects wheat seedlings from harsh winter winds, enhancing their growth and development in the spring.
8. Aids Seed Germination
Some plants’ seeds require snow stratification. Stratification is the natural moist cooling period that some seeds require in order to germinate. For such seedlings, snow can trigger their germination as it provides moisture and a cooling environment. Furthermore, the snow will help the seed to make better soil contact for appropriate germination.
Therefore, instead of shoveling your garden and doing more harm to it, let nature have its way, it is much better that way. Stick to shoveling your driveway only. As we’ve learned today, snow does not only make your garden look good but also provides nutrients, insulates, mulches, and moisturizes it. Moreover, it helps to stratify soil, aids in seed germination, and protects plants from premature blossoms during winter. If you know of any other benefits of snow in the garden, please do share them with us! Also, join the discussion and share your thoughts in the comments section below. Don’t forget to spread the knowledge on social media!
Alex is a firewood cutting fan and a chainsaw expert. He owns a ranch in Montana where he lives with his wife and son. He is a tech cowboy who enjoys writing his blog ElectroSawHQ.com.