Is snow beneficial to landscape plants?
A layer of snow is beneficial to many plants in the garden and landscape. A layer of snow protects plants from extreme cold and the drying effects from sun and wind. A layer of snow also prevents repeated freezing and thawing of the soil which can heave perennials, such as garden mums (Chrysanthemum spp.), Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum spp.), painted daisies (Tanacetum spp.), and coral bells (Heuchera spp.), out of the ground, causing serious damage or death. Additionally, a layer of snow moderates soil temperatures. Without snow, the soil may get extremely cold, damaging roots of trees, shrubs, and perennials.
On the negative side, the weight of heavy, wet snow can break the branches on trees and shrubs and destroy the shape of multi-stemmed arborvitae and junipers. A deep layer of snow also deprives rabbits and deer of food on the ground, forcing them to browse on trees and shrubs that stick above the snow. Heavily browsed trees and shrubs can be destroyed.