After the blizzard

I’m getting too old for this. When will it be spring?

But, it’s winter, and some amount of snow is expected, even, and perhaps particularly, in a mild winter. With less frigid temperatures there is often more moisture, and when cold collides with moist, deep snow is often the result.

The short branches of this Hinoki cypress will soon shed the heavy cover of snow. If there was nothing btter to do I would reemove this snow, but there are many other priorities.

The short branches of this Hinoki cypress will soon shed the heavy cover of snow. If there was nothing better to do I would remove this snow, but there are many other priorities.

Today, the driveway has been cleared with the assistance of a recently purchased electric snowblower, a concession to nagging shoulder and back troubles. This inexpensive gadget worked marvelously, far better than I expected when I woke to two feet of snow after clearing a much smaller amount the previous evening.

This Globosa blue spruce is not likely to harmed by the deep snow convering it.

This Globosa blue spruce is not likely to harmed by the deep snow covering it.

The driveway is closely bordered by plants, with a Japanese maple and several evergreens protruding a foot or two over the asphalt, so I opted to purchase a lower powered blower to minimize damage as snow is thrown from the machine. The smaller snowblower required a bit more effort than the neighbors’ gas powered snowblowers, but snow was tossed gently (and quietly) to the borders of the drive, so there should be no damage. And, I’m not dead tired from shoveling.

But, the spruce is on the path to the Japanese maple and to the bird feeder, so what the heck.

But, the spruce is on the path to the Japanese maple and to the bird feeder, so what the heck.

After lunch I’ll head back out to survey the garden. In the middle of the storm I slogged through waist deep drifts to take a quick look around, and I was encouraged to see that little snow accumulated in branches of deciduous trees. Branches of evergreens are bent by snow, but I’m not inclined to do much for taller hollies and cypresses that will spring back as soon as the sun melts the snow.

Nandinas, boxwoods, and smaller evergreens will require a bit of effort to free branches that arch down into the deep snow. It is likely that snow will not melt sufficiently to free branches for a week, and in previous winters I’ve seen that bent branches that are not freed from snow quickly are very slow to recover. Some stray branches must eventually be pruned so they do not obstruct paths.

It does not appear there has been any damage to this snow covered weeping Japanese maple.

It does not appear there has been any damage to this snow covered weeping Japanese maple.

Snow that accumulated in the dense canopy of the weeping Japanese maple by the driveway was cleared in the midst of the storm. A gentle pat with a leaf rake resulted in most of the snow drifting to the ground. With cold temperatures, branches are brittle, so a minimum of force should be used to lessen damage. Perhaps the maples can be left alone, but I’ve seen too much damage in previous years to leave this to chance. Another large weeping maple in the rear garden will be cleaned up this afternoon, but a third that is perched at the edge of the large koi pond will be left to fend for itself. It is much too close to the pond, with treacherous access in summer, much less in thirty inches of snow.

I gently nudged snow with a leaf rake and most snow fell through the branches.

I gently nudged snow with a leaf rake and most snow fell through the branches.

I do not worry about mounds of snow that fall from the roof. My roof is far too high to do anything about it, so I accept that some damage is inevitable, though boxwoods have proven to be surprisingly resilient in the past. Snow that falls from a roof can be quite difficult to remove without inflicting further damage, so I’ll not bother with these until the snow melts, and if I must prune broken branches, so be it.

Apparently, I’ve become soft hearted in my old age. Birds (and squirrels) devoured seed put out on Friday afternoon, and now I’ve shoveled a path to the feeder so it can be refilled. In minutes, there are bluejays and cardinals, with smaller birds cleaning up the scraps that fall from the feeder. This effort was worthwhile, but I hope to do no more shoveling this winter.

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