Snow won’t hurt most plants, says expert

As long as people have been smart, the snow won’t be too hard on their plants, said Iowa State Extension Horticulturalist Yvonne McCormick.

If gardeners got too anxious and put out some of their tender annuals, those plants might be harmed, McCormick said Thursday. But for woody perennials, the snow is actually better for them.

“You can think of it as a blanket that will insulate and protect the plants from the colder, freezing temperatures,” she said. “Once plant cells are exposed to freezing weather they break down, but if it was protected by the snow cover, it won’t be so exposed.”

Things like tomatoes and peppers are more delicate. Any less hardy annuals should be covered whenever the temperature drops, she said.

“People just need to remember with tender plants we can still get killing frost up to May 15 here.”

Fruit trees have just begun to bud and aren’t in full flower yet, so they shouldn’t be too affected either, she said.

“Snow is good too because it’s going to melt down and add more moisture to our soil. It’s better to have the snow than just cold temperatures,” McCormick said. “For those woody perennials that are just beginning to bud out, it will help them.”