Why Snow is Good for Spring Bulbs
It’s been an unusually cold and snowy winter — almost everywhere in the country. Rarely have so many gardeners been so eager for spring! While we have been busy shoveling our way to the house, trying to keep the cars out of the ditch and warming cold toes, it’s good to know that the flower bulbs in our gardens are probably perfectly happy. Snow is good for spring bulbs!
Snow provides an insulating blanket that help to keep soil temperatures warmer. In winters with little or no snow to protect the soil, frost can penetrate as much as 3 feet deep. So, while you may think that lots of snow will mean a later spring, it’s usually the opposite.
Once the snow eventually melts, there’s often very little frost in the ground. And though spring bulbs have an uncanny ability to push their way up through frozen soil, their journey is much easier when the soil is soft. When winters are warmer than usual, you may see bulbs start to emerge sooner than they should. Fortunately, spring bulbs are incredibly tough and there’s usually no need to worry. You can learn more about that here: What to Do When Bulbs Come Up Too Early.
Another good thing about a snowy winter: as the snow melts, it hydrates the soil. This ensures spring bulbs have access to the moisture they need to produce strong roots, lush foliage and big flowers.
If you’re a winter-weary gardener counting the days to spring, don’t worry about your flower bulbs. Under all the snow and ice there are crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and allium bulbs heading for the light. In a few short weeks they will begin changing our world from grey and white to full on color!