Deicing agents hard on plants

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By Jeneen Wiche

A blanket of snow has the ability to brighten the dreariest of days. And, despite school closures and tricky driving, a snow-covered landscape proves to be quite beautiful. It’s not so bad for the plants either, so don’t be tempted to knock the snow off drooping branches.

Snow has an insulating effect which is particularly useful when we do have frigid temperatures. Ground level snow will actually protect the roots and crowns of perennial and woody plants, but you may notice a little burn above the snow level when it comes to broadleaf evergreens. 

Snow offsets excessive transpiration (moisture loss through foliage) when it comes to broadleaf evergreens like holly, rhododendron, boxwood, magnolias and mahonia. We often see “winter burn” caused by desiccation on such plants if we have a cold blistery winter. A snow cover helps to prevent it.