Authors note: At the time of this post, the temperature has finally caught up to the calendar and the snow is melting! But if you’ve worried at all about how your plants fared through this winter, read on!
Every time I venture south of our zone 6 climate in winter, when asked where I’m from, I’ll inevitably hear “you get a lot of snow up there”. And while true in this particular year, historically, our winters are anything but consistent with snow covering the ground. As a gardener, I cringe as some days have been below zero followed by a thaw the next day. Why? Because it’s not good for the plants!
Believe it or not, a steady supply of snow is a very good thing for the winter survival of plants, especially when we reach the status of record breaking cold temps. When plants are labeled hardy for our zone (zone 6a – 6b in Connecticut, excluding part of Litchfield County), that means they can survive temperatures as low as -10 degrees. Think of snow like a big, soft, insulating blanket, keeping everything below it at a consistent temperature of around 32 degrees, even when the air above is in the single digits. Let’s be thankful for that layer of protecting snow as we broke 100 year old records with some areas reaching -22 degrees!
So when the snow melts, the grass turns green, and the trees begin to leaf out while perennials break the ground – you can thank old man winter of 2015 for his consistency.