Friday, February 20, 2015

Hunker Down?

In Colorado we never know if the weather forecasters get the storm right until it's happening, or not.  If we get the several inches (three feet...really) they are predicting over the weekend, it makes sense to have a game plan for your landscape, pets and state of mind.  Below are some tips from past Denver Post Punch List columns with a few new ones added.

Tallie, our first dog in '06
  • It’s okay to very gently brush off heavy snow loads on smaller trees and shrubs. 
  • Use a soft-bristled broom, not a shovel and very gently brush off the snow starting at the top.  Do this every few hours if needed.  
  • Truth be known, I'll set my alarm and get up a couple of times during the night to brush off snow loads (yes, tree geek I am...just want to keep the trees happy)
  • If snow piles up on trees or conifers, don't be tempted to shake them. A limb might snap back at you (ouch) when relieved of snow.
  • Shaking a tree may result in damaged limbs or branches, not to mention a pile of cold snow possibly landing on you.
  • If branches are frozen, let them melt on their own.
  • Call your certified arborist next week if you experience severe branch breakage to schedule a consulation (it's time to prune anyway). 
  • Shovel walk ways often when it's easier on you and your back. Shovel every couple of hours if needed (hopefully you're not out driving in this, might as well shovel). 
  • Not a shoveler, call a neighbor kid NOW to be in his/her queue first.
  • Ice-melt or deicer products are generally effective on sidewalks and driveways (they won’t work well in extreme cold temperatures).  When overused or applied improperly they can do harm to surrounding plants, lawns and concrete. Magnesium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) products are considered more environmentally friendly.  Sandbox sand works too, but needs to be reapplied after each snow storm. Be sure to sweep it up in the spring so sand doesn’t collect in storm drains. 
  • More on deicers - Is there a safe deicing product for sidewalks and plants? 
  • Keep your pets inside, safe, warm and dry with you.  If the snow piles up you might have to dig out some paths for your four-legged friend (s). 
  • When the snow lets up continue making more paths and play a fun game of fox and geese, just like when you were in the second grade.
  • No need to mention loading up on basic food provisions, you're probably at the store now maneuvering for a parking spot.  Be nice out there!  
  • Use left-overs and on-hand canned goods to make a big pot of chili, stew or soup (Rachel Ray calls them stoups), works for me.  
  • While riding out the storm why not pull out your garden plans and catalogs and get ordering! 
Pictures from past storms - 

February Snow 2015


Raised beds after a big storm, early 2000s
Might as well get some exercise and chase the broom!
Late snow storm 2014, garlic just laughs it off!

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