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The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Snowstorms and How They Impact Your Denver Landscape


January 6, 2017

There are obvious benefits to snowstorms in Denver - including the most apparent, snow days! But often the snow is not heavy enough to warrant a snow day, but not light enough to not have to deal with it properly. This is the case with our most recent snow that is currently resting on our Denver landscape. Residents know the drill, make sure to sweep or shovel the snow while it is still powder, and usually take precautions like spreading de-icing salt to ensure your pathways don’t become treacherous. It is important to understand the added benefits of a snowstorm and also the detrimental impact it may have on your plants and trees.

De-Icing Salt Damage

We have gone into detail about de-icing damage and prevention for our Denver landscape previously, but it is important to be conscious of your salt application any time it snows. As the snow melts, the sodium chloride will dissolve in the water and runoff, which can greatly affect the plants and trees nearby as the salt is absorbed in the soil. To prevent this in the future, you can limit the area in which you apply the salt, set up a barrier between the soil and the water runoff, or use an alternative like a calcium chloride instead of rock salt containing urea.

How the Moisture Content Changes

When snow falls, it affects the overall moisture content in the air. As the flakes fall from the sky, they gather the moisture in the air and are able to stay in the snow state instead of melting immediately. This can also only happen when the temperatures are below freezing to allow them to stay in the crystallized form instead of melting when they hit the ground. The snow will take moisture from the air, and it makes for a drier, crisper atmosphere with less water for plants and trees. Evergreens, for example will release the moisture through their needles. Tree and plant health can be maintained by properly preparing your landscape for the snow. Mulch can insulate the existing soil’s moisture and keep the tree or plant well hydrated.

Snow’s Insulating Properties

After the snow falls, it will have an effect on your plants. It will naturally act as insulation, and can be very beneficial in preventing the plants freezing. The trouble usually comes when your plants go through cycles of freezing and then thawing multiple times during the season. Another benefit of the snow after it acts as an insulator is what happens when the temperatures begin to rise. As the snow melts, it will rehydrate the plants and soil, but homeowners should be conscious of how much snow is melting and the position of the snow. You want to avoid over-saturation and the snow creating pools of water in your landscape.

Not sure how the snow is affecting your landscape? Let the team at American Arbor Care be your guide. We can offer the best suggestions, advice, and knowledge to help you better maintain a healthy landscape. Call our team today to learn more or to get your spring maintenance schedule ahead of time!
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