What effect will the late April, heavy snowfall have on bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees this season? Is there anything I should be looking for or doing this summer because of it?
Actually the snowfall was like a slow-release watering for most of the plants in question. Some of the more delicate bulb blossoms succumbed more quickly and we didn’t get to enjoy their wonderful flowers as long. Perennials were just starting to emerge and welcomed the slow drink of water. The melting snow was a far better source of early season moisture than several downpours. Heavy rainfall can quickly flood and set new root growth to rotting because the soil hasn’t had the chance to warm up and process that much water. The ground is still waking up too!
The downside for shrubs and trees is the wet snow sticks and applies a lot of weight to branch structure. Any broken tree limbs or shrub branches should be properly pruned out and removed. Shrubs may need to be reshaped for aesthetics or replaced if snow broke out the center crown. Be on the lookout for insects or funguses that might home in on the pruning cuts this early in the season. Make sure injured trees and shrubs get plenty of consistent water and air circulation to help their healing process. Sometimes a young tree sapling, like a maple or pine, may lose a central leader. It is important to train and shape a secondary leader branch to become the central upright to maintain the natural configuration and strength of the tree. Otherwise you have a tree that grows with a flat top, becomes top heavy as secondary branches fight for dominance, and becomes a candidate for further storm damage.