What is Under All That Snow?

What is Under All That Snow?

While the long-lasting snow cover was good for perennials, it might prove to be problematic in other areas of our landscapes. Here are 4 tips for what you should watch for after the thaw.

1. Look for vole passageways. While moles travel under the ground, voles make channels on the surface and when the snow melts their passageways are clearly visible on the surface of lawns and flower beds. Follow their pathways to see if they lead to young trees and shrubs, and examine these plants to see if the trunks and stems have been girdled. Voles often travel safely under the snow and dine on tender bark at the base of trees or bushes. If you see vole trails in the perennial garden be alert for plants that die or pop out of the ground unexpectedly during spring cleanup. Voles can eat the crowns or roots of perennials over the winter, and this usually kills the plants. There is nothing to be done at this point but hope for the best, but if you feel like there was an abundance of voles in your landscape come into the store so we can assist you with the best products for deterring or getting rid of these critters.

2. Snow mold! As if the snow itself wasn’t bad enough, a long lasting cover can lead to lawn damage from a variety of snow molds. Rake your lawn as soon as the ground is no longer soggy, looking for dead looking patches as you go. In most cases you won’t need to use a fungicide, but should the cold, wet weather that fosters the growth of snow molds persist treatment might be needed. In most cases, however, raking and top dressing with a bit of loam and reseeding, along with an application of fertilizer will help the lawn to recover quickly. Read more about snow molds at the UMass Amherst website: http://bit.ly/1FbFcuG

3. Sticks and leaves: One of the easiest spring cleanup tasks is picking up all the debris that’s come down from nearby trees through the storms. It’s especially important to rake up piles of wet leaves so that they don’t smother the plants underneath.

4. Don’t work any of the soil in your yards and gardens too soon after the snow melts. The ground will be fully saturated for awhile and working wet ground destroys the soil structure.

What's underneath all of that snow? Now that the thaw seems to be underway, we're all about to find out...
What’s underneath all of that snow? Now that the thaw seems to be underway, we’re all about to find out…
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  1. Karen Barry on March 12, 2015 at 11:02 am

    The gentle “Wedding Bouquet” bushes that that surround my Koi pond are knocked over by the snow and buried under the snow. Should I just let them be after the snow is gone and see if they come back? Thank you

    • CLFornari on March 12, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Yes – let the snow melt naturally and then check the shrubs for damage. Fingers crossed that they came through well!

  2. Bob Lewsen on March 12, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Not worried about the voles et alia, but am seriously worried about many rats. They also ran tunnels under the snow and eat the bird seed. I have 3 rescue dogs. What do I do? I can stop and clean up the bird seed, but then I have literally 100s of birds that depend on it. I am in a severe quandary. Thank you. See you soon. Bob

    • CLFornari on March 12, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      We’ve had rats come in for our birdseed too. We found their holes and set traps, which took care of the problem. If you hire an exterminator, they will do the same thing.

  3. Althea Green on March 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    ThNKS Nan for your posts all winter. I always get excited when I see one waiting for me to read. I always want to get right out and start raking and digging in the spring but you reminded me to go slow and wait for the ground to dry out. That is good advice and this year I am going to go slowly.
    Can’t wait until I can come in and get my supply of annuals. The best one was a new annual that you wrote about last year. The miniature Zinnas. They were an orange color and they were amazing. I put them in my flower boxes and they bloomed(and I mean bloomed) all summer til frost!! My husband even remaked on how beautiful they were. I hope you have them again this year. Can I reserve some??
    Althea Green

    • CLFornari on March 12, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Althea – so glad you enjoy what Nan and I write! (Nan does the newsletter and I do the blog.) And I’m glad you like the Profusion zinnias as much as I do. We don’t take reservation for plants because they are perishable and the availability is up to the growers, not us. But check with us beginning in the third week in May which is when most annuals start to come in.

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