UK snow forecast: The long-term impact of snow and plummeting temperatures on your garden

UK snow forecast: The long-term impact of snow and plummeting temperatures on your garden


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Once December hits, gardeners are likely to put down most of their tools for the season. However, they should keep an eye on their greenery as the thermometer drops and snowflakes begin to fall. If you have failed to prepare your garden, the cold weather could have a lasting impact on your garden.

How does frost impact your garden?

Although cold weather, in general, can play havoc on your garden, frost can be particularly savage when it comes to your plants.

This is because the freezing cold temperatures cause the water inside plant cells to freeze, damaging the cell wall.

Frost-damaged plants can become limp and even turn brown or black.

However, when temperatures warm up, the effects of the frost tend to be worsened.

As the plants rapidly defrost, their cell walls can rupture, causing irreversible damage.

Even the hardiest of evergreen plants can be damaged by prolonged spells of freezing cold weather.

As the soil around them freezes, roots are unable to take up enough water and many plants can die at this stage.

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How does snow impact your garden?

In some cases, snow can actually act as a blanket of insulation from more extreme cold weather.

However, prolonged and heavy snow can have the opposite effect.

The weight of consistent sow build up and bend and distort shrubs, and can even lead to broken branches.

Any snow which sits on top of some plants for long periods of time can kill off future growth.

To prevent such damage, try and clear snow from branches and areas where it is building up.

Heavy deposits of snow should also be cleared from the roof of your greenhouse or cold frames, otherwise, it may block the light and risk damaging structures.

Snow can also cause chaos for your grass, particularly if you frequently walk back and forth.

Over time, the snow-covered grass will damage the turf beneath and can encourage the growth of some fungal diseases.

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How can you prepare your garden for the onset of snow and frost?

As the winter weather approaches, it is a good idea to keep in mind the plants you have in your garden and where they are located.

Try to choose hardy plants that can survive through the winter months, and place them in areas of the garden where they are more likely to be protected from harsh weather conditions.

If there are any areas of your garden that are common “frost pockets”, avoid placing tender plants here.

Tender specimens should be planted in a pot and given as much shelter as possible, perhaps by placing them against walls or under large trees.

However, if you have a greenhouse, then it is best to keep them well insulated inside until the risk of frost has passed.

Any autumn growth should be left, rather than pruned, as this can provide some valuable protection for plants.

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