Keep Your Lawn Lively All Winter with a Snow Blanket for the Yard

Paul West/ Backyard Maintenance, Backyard Ornamental, Outdoor Entertaining

What are Snow Blankets and How to Use Them in Your Yard

For those living in cold winter climates, keeping your yard and landscaping protected through the snowy months is an annual chore. A snow blanket for the yard offers an easy and effective solution to shield your plants, trees, and yard features from the damaging effects of winter weather.

In this article, we’ll explore what exactly snow blankets are, their key benefits for your yard, and a step-by-step guide to selecting, installing, and maintaining these handy winter yard tools. Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Snow blankets provide insulation like natural snow but are more reliable and convenient.
  • The key benefits are protecting plants from freeze damage, windburn, moisture loss, and temperature fluctuations.
  • Match snow blanket size, thickness, and material type to your specific yard conditions and plant hardiness.
  • Proper installation in late fall and removal in early spring ensures optimal winter protection.
  • Snow blankets allow air, light, and moisture through so yards stay healthy while dormant.

Introduction to Snow Blankets

A snow blanket, also sometimes called a winter cover or yard blanket, is a protective covering made specifically to shield your yard, gardens, and landscaping from snow, ice, wind, and freezing temperatures. Snow blankets come in a variety of sizes and materials, but generally serve the same key purposes:

  • Insulate plants and soil from extreme cold
  • Prevent frost damage to roots and vegetation
  • Limit desiccation or drying out from cold winter winds
  • Protect from burden of heavy, wet snow piles

Snow blankets allow you to safeguard your lawn and gardens through the winter, so they can thrive again come spring. While no substitute for hardier plant varieties, snow blankets give your landscaping an extra defensive buffer against Old Man Winter’s wrath.

Key Benefits of Using Snow Blankets

Utilizing snow blankets in your yard over the winter provides a number of advantages that promote healthier plants and reduce maintenance come spring. Let’s explore some of the core benefits you can expect:

Insulation from Frigid Temperatures

One of the primary purposes of snow blankets is to act as an insulating buffer against freezing air temperatures. When soil drops below freezing, it can damage plant roots, bulbs, and tubers. The blankets form a protective layer of dead air space that prevents frost penetrating deep into the ground. This maintains slightly warmer temperatures around plant crowns that keep them viable through the winter months.

Protection from Desiccation

In addition to insulation, snow blankets prevent moisture loss and desiccation. Cold winter winds can rapidly dry out exposed vegetation. The blankets form a physical barrier that locks in existing ground moisture and prevents it from evaporating away. This protects your plants from drying out over the winter months.

Water Retention

Snow blankets are water permeable, allowing melting snow to seep through while retaining the moisture in the soil below. Rather than water running off the surface during a thaw, it trickles through the blanket and back into the ground. This replenishes the moisture around plants’ root systems as winter snows melt.

Preventing Ice Sheet Damage

Snow blankets prevent heavy, compacted snow and ice from forming directly on top of plants and beds. The weight of accumulated ice and snowfall can crush and smother vegetation. The blankets disrupt this, allowing plants to better withstand winter weather events.

Reduced Spring Maintenance

Use of snow blankets greatly reduces the time and labor required to uncover and revive your yard after winter. The blankets minimize freeze/thaw cycles that heave tender plants out of the ground. And your vegetation remains standing upright and intact, rather than crushed or buried under piles of snow and ice. This makes spring gardening prep much simpler and faster.

As you can see, utilizing snow blankets provides some major benefits for easing the woes of winter and protecting your precious greenery. Next let’s go over some tips for selecting, installing, and caring for snow blankets in your yard.

How to Use Snow Blankets in Your Yard

Getting the most out of snow blankets involves choosing the right products for your needs, proper installation to secure them in place, and some basic seasonal maintenance. Follow this step-by-step guide for successfully leveraging snow blankets to shield your landscaping:

Selecting the Best Snow Blankets

Snow blankets come in a variety of different materials, sizes, and colors. Consider the following when selecting blankets for your unique yard:

  • Materials – Most common are burlap, plastic sheeting, and woven polypropylene fabric. Each has particular advantages and disadvantages.

  • Size – Make sure to get blankets large enough to fully cover your planting beds with excess overlap. Measure carefully.

  • Attachment Method – Some blankets have grommets or loops for staking while others require weights to hold down.

  • Aesthetics – Larger yards may prefer neutral earth tone colors over bright white blankets come winter.

  • Climate Conditions – Colder and windier regions need thicker, more insulating blankets generally.

Take measurements of your planting beds and other areas needing winter protection. Then cross-reference with manufacturer sizing guides to pick the right snow blankets for your yard layout and regional conditions.

Installing Snow Blankets

Once you’ve purchased your snow blankets, proper installation is key to maximizing their effectiveness. Here are some tips:

  • Install in mid to late autumn before first frost and snowfall.

  • Secure edges with stakes, landscape fabric pins, or heavy rocks for windy areas.

  • Overlap blankets and double layer for added insulation if needed.

  • Weigh down centers to prevent billowing in wind storms.

  • Make sure blankets make full contact with soil surface across the covered area.

  • Check for and mend any tears, gaps or lifting edges throughout winter.

Taking time to properly install your snow blankets gives them the best chance of enduring whatever winter weather comes your way.

Ongoing Winter Maintenance

While snow blankets require minimal maintenance once installed, checking on them periodically throughout the winter is advised:

  • After heavy snowfalls, gently sweep off any heavy piles that accumulate.

  • Adjust or replace stakes/weights that become loose as soil freezes and thaws.

  • Patch any small tears or holes that could allow moisture loss.

  • Clear fallen leaves, debris that accumulate on top over time.

  • Monitor for lifted edges or billowing during wind events.

With just occasional minor adjustments and repairs, your snow blankets can make it through until spring.

Removing and Storing Snow Blankets

When spring finally arrives, you’ll want to properly remove and store your snow blankets:

  • On warmer sunny days, gradually peel back portions of the blankets to allow soil to thaw and dry slowly.

  • Once soil is unfrozen and drainage is good, fully remove blankets and clean off debris.

  • Allow blankets to dry fully if wet before folding up and storing for next winter.

  • Patch any damage and mend tears so blankets are ready for reuse.

  • Store in a dry protected area like a shed or garage over the summer.

With proper removal and storage, quality snow blankets can provide many seasons of reliable service protecting your yard through cold snowy winters.

Wrapping It All Up

For gardeners and homeowners concerned about keeping their yards intact through tough winter conditions, snow blankets offer an invaluable tool. The key is selecting the right style and size of blanket for your needs, installing them correctly in the fall, providing occasional maintenance, and proper spring removal. Follow the tips in this article and you can rest assured your lawn and gardens will thrive once again when warmer weather returns.

So consider giving snow blankets a try this coming winter season! Your future spring self will thank you when yard cleanup and revival is a breeze. With just a little strategic planning and care, you can save your precious landscaping investments and keep your outdoor spaces beautiful year after year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature should I install snow blankets?

Ideally install snow blankets just before the ground freezes, when temperatures will be consistently dipping below freezing at night. This ensures plants are fully protected as they enter dormancy. Anytime in late fall or early winter is fine.

Can I leave snow blankets down too long in spring?

It’s best to gradually remove snow blankets over 2-3 weeks as temperatures warm in early spring. Fold and store them properly if they will be reused. Leaving them too long can keep soil cooler and delay your yard waking up. New spring growth may emerge underneath the blankets.

How are snow blankets attached?

Most snow blankets come with grommets/eyelets around the edges and stakes to securely anchor them to the ground. You can also use landscape staples. For large yards, overlap blankets and use provided clips to connect them snugly.

Can I drive or walk on snow blankets?

Avoid excessive walking, driving, or shoveling atop the blankets as it causes compressions and tears. Use paths and steps to access sheds or gardens without traversing the snow blankets. Some brands offer heavier weights to withstand more foot traffic.

Should I fertilize before installing snow blankets?

Fertilizing right before dormancy is not necessary, and the blankets will prevent granules from reaching turf and plant beds properly. But a gentle organic fertilization in early fall is beneficial leading up to winter.

Are snow blankets reusable?

Yes, quality snow blankets often last for many years when properly stored over summer. Look for UV-resistant and durable materials. Fold and keep them somewhere shaded and dry. Inspect for rips before reusing.

Paul West
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About Paul West

Longstanding and passionate about really having family fun in the backyard. I'm no expert but I've picked up a thing or two along the way!