KUSA - On May 9 to 10, 2003, Denver received more than 7 inches of very wet and heavy snow. One homeowner whose yard had several large and old cottonwood trees reported that so many branches were breaking and crashing to the ground that the noise sounded like a thunder storm. Denver's parks lost hundreds of trees.
Eleven years later, another late spring snow threatens the Front Range. These late spring snowstorms can damage trees and other plant material – and also sprinkler systems.
Blowing snow may blow through the tree with less snow clinging to the branches, leaves and flowers. But the picturesque snow that falls straight down will be more likely to cling to leaves and flowers on trees and shrubs. Flowers on trees and shrubs, in particular, act like cups and hold water and snow. The more snow and moisture that clings to the plant material, the heavier the branches will be and the greater potential for breakage.
What you can do: Using the back of a rake, a broom or other long-handled tool, gently bounce it against tree limbs you can reach from the ground. Start with the lowest branches and move higher in the tree. Gently shaking snow from the tree throughout the storm can help keep snow loads from getting to the breaking point.
Freezing rain and sleet can also coat the branches and leaves of trees with moisture and cause breakage. Take precautions ahead of the storm so that outdoor furniture, vehicles, toys, etc., are not left under trees.
The blossoms on flowering shrubs, such as lilacs which are now blooming around much of the metro area, can freeze.
· If you have lilacs or other plants in bloom, pick a bouquet ahead of the storm to enjoy in the days ahead.
· If the flowers on peach or apple trees freeze, they may bear little or no fruit this season.
· Unopened peony blooms may be protected from freeze damage and breakage by placing a peony or tomato cage around the plant and draping insulating material like a blanket over and around the cage overnight when temps are in the freeze/frost range.
· Annuals in containers should be brought indoors if there is a frost or freeze warning.
· Annuals already planted in the ground should be covered with a towel or blanket. Avoid using plastic coverings because they offer no protection.
If the sprinkler system has already been activated, take the same precautions you would take in the fall to protect the backflow prevention device. Wrap insulating material such as a towel or blanket around the device and then cover it with a plastic trash bag to keep moisture out. Secure the bag in place with duct tape.
Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, www.alcc.com. For quick and timely tips, visit: https://www.facebook.com/LandscapeinColorado?ref=hl
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