Cuttings: The snow must go off

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The Independent Online
WHEN we get a sudden snowfall and the garden is crusted over, I itch to go out and begin knocking it off, in case plants break under the weight. I love the satisfying 'crump' as slabs of snow slither off and hit the deck. But it is often a temptation better resisted, for the stems and twigs are cold and brittle, and it is easy to snap pieces off in the process.

You can leave it to the wind, if there is any, to bring down very dry snow, but a crust of thick wet snow is better dislodged from burdened specimens. Wait until it has half-melted at midday, and if it looks set to freeze again that night shake it off. You will never get it off the next day if you allow it to freeze on, and it will provide a firm platform for other falls to build on. Pieris and tree heaths can lose whole branches this way.