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Snow Impacts on Woody and Herbaceous Plants

When we have heavy snowfalls along the Front Range they are certainly welcome for the moisture they provide and create less need to emphasize winter watering.

Annuals such as petunias and snapdragons may overwinter under snow cover that provided insulation from cold temperatures. Perennials may show little dieback of stems. Remove any dead-brown portions in March/early April. Ornamental grasses can be cut back as usual in March to early April.Broken Crotch

Corrective pruning may be needed for trees and shrubs with broken twigs and branches that had to bear heavy snow loads. Many upright junipers can have vertical branches weighed down by snow that won't return to the original position. Correctively prune affected branches by removing back to a vertical shoot. Tying upright junipers in a spiral with loose nylon rope before winter can prevent branch bending.Downed Tree

Small shrubs that are flattened by piles of snow may also need some corrective pruning to remove bent or broken branches. They may have a less-attractive appearance for a couple years.


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Updated Monday, July 21, 2014