What to do, what not to do in a thaw
Green Thumbs up...
...to playing it smart during winter thaws:
- Do pile whatever snow is left on the soil of
container gardens, or under broadleaf evergreens. It will protect
roots from the big, fast shift in temperature that comes at sundown
of a warm winter day. As it melts, it can help an evergreen replace
the moisture it loses to photosynthesis and pores opened to warm
shade the south and west side of the trunks of thin-barked
trees such as Japanese maple and mountain ash.
- Do put water out in shallow trays (low-rise
baking pans work). Watch how many thirsty birds show up.
- Do clip a few evergreen boughs so you can pull
the Yuletide decorations out of that wreath on your door and fill
with fresh green.
- Do apply a new coat of anti-desiccant to
broadleaf evergreens that are exposed to the wind. Ask yourself as
you do, "Are these plants really so essential in this spot
or can I move them to a more protected place and eliminate the
extra work of protecting them?"
- Do take a drive through the neighborhood to
see what looks good right now in others' yards. Plan to replace
those badly sited broadleaf evergreens of yours with something less
needy from the resulting list.
Green Thumbs down...
...to letting a thaw cloud your brain. Don't create more work
and trouble later:
- Don't walk on wet, cold beds. If you must,
protect the soil, so vulnerable now to the kind of compaction
that's very hard to fix later. Spread your weight wide by laying
down planks or bundled newspaper to walk on.
Snowshoes work, too!
- Don't look at what clueless non-gardener
neighbors may have done to their side of your hedges or bushes. You
can't fix it now. It will wait. Don't give yourself such things to