What to do after it snows in your garden — top tips to help plants survive

Garden covered in snow
Garden covered in snow (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Our gardens often look like a winter wonderland when it glistens in snow. But the frost can seriously harm our beautiful plantlife and trees, causing the water in plant cells to freeze. Once they become frost-damaged, they can grow limp, distorted or even blacken. Even the most hardy, evergreen plants can get damaged from the frozen soil, while frost can also kill blossoms and ruin growing fruit. 

Although it may seem like the end of the world for lush garden, there are things we can do after it snows to help our plant life survive. Follow these top tips to care for your garden after snowfall. 

If you want birds to continue visiting despite the snow, check out how to attract birds into your garden this winter

1. Shake off the snow

Brushing off excess snow on trees

Brushing off excess snow on trees (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Brush off excess snow left on trees, evergreens, hedges and shrubs with your hand or a broom. Heavy snow can weigh down on branches and cause them to break, so shake off snow to help lighten the weight, and avoid damage. 

In addition, remove damaged growth including dried leaves, and damaged parts of your plants to encourage new growth.

2. Keep off the lawn 

Frozen grass

Frozen grass (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Avoid walking on frozen grass or any plants, as the blades of grass will break off when it’s too frosty. In addition, walking on snow-covered turf can encourage the growth of fungal diseases that thrive in cool damp conditions.

3. Provide drainage for succulents

Mixing plant drainage

Mixing plant drainage (Image credit: Shutterstock)

For succulent plants or those that do well in colder weather, you still need to ensure they have good drainage to prevent moisture build-up. It’s recommended that you add ¼ of crushed rock to the soil to help soak up some of the moisture that may kill succulents.

In addition, firm plants back into the ground, especially if the frost has disturbed the roots. And add a smaller layer of compost to improve their drainage.

4. Prune off stubs from broken branches

Snow on tree branch

Snow on tree branch (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have any broken branches on a tree or shrub caused by heavy snowfall, prune off the stub at an angle, about an inch from the trunk. This will help with its healing and new growth. We can recommend these Mueller Soft Grip Garden Pruning Shears ($24, Amazon). In addition, support the branches of conifers with lengths of string. This will help to stop them being pulled out of shape from the weight of snowfall. 

5. Keep some plants covered in snow (yes that's right!)

Plants covered in snow

Plants covered in snow (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Did you know that snow can be a good thing for our garden? Snow acts as a blanket to keep plant life warm, and protects them from the freeze/thaw cycles that heave them out of the ground. So, it’s advisable to keep snow on plants unless the snow is heavily weighing down on plants or branches. 

6. Protect your planters

Covered planters in garden

Covered planters in garden (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re growing plants or even vegetables in planters or containers, these need to be protected from frost. Cover these in a special garden fleece or bubble wrap to keep the roots at a stable temperature. These Plant Covers Freeze Protection ($17, Amazon) are ideal for protecting plants in the snow. 

More home and garden tips for winter:

Feeding birds in winter: top tips and what to avoid
How to make hot chocolate and never drink pre-mixed again
How to insulate your windows for winter
How to winterize hydrangeas
How to make an indoor winter garden
How to build a snowman
Best snowblower sales and deals

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!