Most winters plenty of snow falls early enough in the winter season that all but the largest shrubs are buried beginning in December. As a result I don't worry too much about cold temps and winter burn. This year, however, it got extremely cold before we had deep snow cover. Then a brief mid-winter thaw melted a lot of snow, only to be followed by more extreme temperatures. Now that the snow is finally melting, the first signs of damage are slowly being revealed.
We have a row of old yews against the foundation of our house. They grow in deep shade and get little rain making them a valuable garden backdrop that needs little attention. Usually they bend from heavy snow and we've pretty much given up trying to get to them and get the snow off of them.
The weight of the snow can pull them right down to the ground. It freezes in place and we hope for the best. I've seen a few broken branches but, unlike the camera lens, I can't get close enough yet to see if it's worse than normal.
Yews on the south side of the house like this one suffered serious burning — and so did the ones on the north side, which surprised me. Since yews take well to pruning, I expect these will bounce back though it may take a couple of seasons.
You can see where the snow cover ended on this Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Gentsch white'). To get the white coloration that it's known for, you annually prune the tips of this shrubby tree. My plan is just to wait and see what's alive before any pruning is done. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can more easily see what I mean.
Another unhappy little hemlock. This one was growing on the north side under a big sugar maple tree.
And my gorgeous Chamaecyparis obtusa is a brown shadow of its former self.
This Pinus sylvestris 'Terra cotta' is living up to its name! It's been struggling for a while but had really bounced back last year. But looks like the winter finally did it in. The little Chamaecyparis obtusa is from the old Heronswood Nursery and I've had it a dozen years. But the damage on the tips is obvious.
This week enough snow may melt that I can try walking the paths to do an inventory of the damage. Then again, maybe I'll put it off a little longer until I've absorbed this first round of information.