by susan on February 25, 2014

Good grief….this can’t be the West Coast !!!!!
Who can believe this snow????
Like  many of you, no doubt, I had thought that winter was behind us, but apparently not!
Unfortunately, here on the coast, we usually do end up with very wet snow and that is causing concern re: some of our plants.
Just take a look at my front garden, seen from the front porch.
The main problem is that this snow is just so very heavy and so once it begins to build up on the braches of almost any plant, there is a real danger of it either causing the branch to break or bend down almost to the ground. But, if you have the time and the energy, you can definitely make a difference in the outcome of this storm.
Here are some words of advice …. things that you can do if you really love your plants.
First of all, make sure that you have the proper clothing before you venture out… A long coat, high boots, a good hood and some “Hot Shots” or similar items to keep inside you mitts.
Then, using a broom, whack the branches of the plants from underneath.This is important, as you do not want to break them…!
I sometimes will put my broom on the trunk of a small tree and then simply try to shake it back and forth. ( This is where a really good hood comes in! )
It does seem somewhat of a Herculean task, as no sooner do you get the snow off than it begins to pile up, once again!
If you have plants that have a somewhat weeping habit, then I think that they are not quite so concerning. Why? Because even if their branches get bent way down, they will probably lift up enough once this heavy stuff gets off of their ‘shoulders.’
Below, you can see how mine look in sunnier weather.
Below, you can  see our ‘Blue Garden’ on the left of the drive. It is hard to realize that very soon it will be completely different. The  photo shows how this garden looks in early Spring..
Now, if you have a Thuja hedge, and if it is ‘winging out’, there are a couple of things that you can do to help.
First of all, I would always recommend that you buy the more expensive plants, Thuya occidentalis, ‘ Smaragd’  or ‘Emerald Green’, rather than the less expensive Thuya occidentalis, ‘Pyramidalis’. The Emerald Green hedge is quite a bit more compact and so does not cause as much trouble in this sort of weather.
However, even if you do have a lot of branches that are drooping way out, you can simply tie a cord on one end of the hedge and then, weave it in and out, and then, once you get to the end, come back again, out and in. You will have to be the judge as to how high up on your own hedge you will need to start this cord. ( I would definitely suggest that this job be undertaken when the weather is great….)
This method has worked very well for me and I would say that it is preferable to having to cut off a great deal of your hedge, once the better spring weather comes and you see all of the braches hanging out the sides.
And, finally, I would like to leave you with this final comparison, below.
Cheers, and I hope you will soon be enjoying your outdoor garden spaces!

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