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Benefits of snow

Chicago gardeners, the landscape glistens in shimmering white snow. Evergreens of every shape and size appear brighter and greener. Shrubs sporting crimson branches appear more intense against the pristine snow. Trees with decorative bark acquire added character in a snowy landscape. City sounds are muffled and absorbed by the cover of snowfall.

Winter in Chicago
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Besides being beautiful, snow benefits Chicago gardeners. It shields shrubs and plants from damaging winds. Snow will mulch your garden if you didn’t have time to do it. A deep layer of snow keeps wind from ever touching your precious plants. However, heavy, wet snow should be brushed off your shrubs if you fear damage.

Snow protects the soil in your garden. During winter, there are damaging freezing and thawing intervals. Snow protects plants by maintaining an even temperature. It keeps the soil at freezing temperatures, warmer than the air during periods of deep freeze, like the last polar vortex. Any plant in the soil is also protected from a deep freeze. On days when the snow melts, it provides needed water.

Lakes, rivers, streams and ponds benefit from snow by having their water supplies increased. When drought plagues an area, snowy winters can change the course of dry seasons. The entire ecosystem is maintained when water supplies are sufficient.

Snow reduces the insect pest population. Many damaging insects are unable to survive snow and cold. This is good news for gardeners and the environment. When nature handles insect pests, fewer pesticides are necessary.

Snowfall brightens the landscape, quiets the city and lifts spirits. It protects the plants and soil in your garden from wind and freezing temperatures. It increases the water supply, and it reduces the insect pest population. So, let it snow.

Live long and well—garden.

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