Using Sand to help melt the snow around smaller fruit trees

We have spent the money on those lovely fruit whips or maybe we clipped starts for propagation or even in some cases started from seed and we have those little plants out in the cold northern winter.

One of things that has happened more and more often locally is freeze/melt cycles and it leads to a lot of small branch breaking. I have seen this, I have tried different things over the years, I  have covered them, potted them up and moved them to a safer location till they are bigger, I have wrapped them or put in stakes and wrapped the stakes..

Still I have had so many small branches break off in the ice layers as the melt happens because the snow melts at a different rate then the ice layers do.. Snap, snap! This has been a huge issue with my clove currents, setting me back year after year with them.

The cold hardy Fruit Nursery put a post out on their page on facebook and I went.. O YES!!!

Photo Credit to the them.. showing how sand melted out the branches on this big older tree as well!

We picked up a bag of regular sand and out we went, it was spread around the smaller fruit tree’s where needed in regards to melting out and then we checked and used as needed on smaller fruiting bushes as well.

I am excited to see how it will work this week and next as things melt out.. granted its moving pretty slow around here so far.. this week most days are below freezing at night, just above freezing in the daytime hours but with wind chill so cold taking us down to -15

They say snow is coming later tomorrow but then this weekend looks to be a amazing weather our first days of spring that are to get to plus 11 to plus 13.  If this is the case, I have a pretty good idea what I will be doing this weekend!

I have planted some more seeds to start this and that, nothing major yet.. that will change over the next ten days but with the cold temps and working the new milking sheep I have been keeping busy.

So do give using the sand a try if you need to do so, I will report back on it next week, ideally with lots of photos for you at that time.

Have you ever used sand or a bit of wood ash to help melt the snow/ice layers from around your fruit tree’s or bushes? if so do you have any hints or tips to offer?

I was thinking this might be a awesome trick for those in the city that have said things like.. I swear I am going to shovel off my garden space to help it melt out.. instead of shoveling, perhaps a light sprinkle of sand would give you that extra melting, be able to be worked in as its not much sand used.

Anyone ever done this? I am thinking I might give it a try and see how it goes!


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6 Responses to Using Sand to help melt the snow around smaller fruit trees

  1. valbjerke says:

    We’ve used wood ashes for years – on walkways, driveway…anywhere that might cause a slip and fall. Use them extensively where the horses and cows need to walk. A friend had cows ‘stranded’ in a field of ice (they weren’t stranded, but they thought they were). I suggested she create a ‘road’ of wood ashes back to the barn. The dark color melted the ice enough the cows had footing and they followed the road back. I’ve not used ashes to melt my garden beds – we cover them in the fall with lumber wrap (gotten for free at any lumber yard) placed black side up. Warms the dirt quite nicely.

    • I can see that working well for sure. I have do use wood ash in the gardens and I have used it on paths as well but never thought to use it help melt the snow to prevent branch damage on fruiting tree’s.

      • valbjerke says:

        Might be worth a shot considering it’s free…..I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

      • very true and frugal is always the best way possible.. on that note, If I do a little planning so is the sand 🙂 we have a big old sand back down the way on a friends land that allows us to go fill 5 gallons any time we want.. also if you want a big load to come.. no issue.. we have a pit just down the road that will do the big truck loads. I have been thinking about getting a load or two this year to be honest. I have wondered if it might be a good idea to dump a load or two as a way to create a big of a higher resting area that would drain out fast. Its the one thing that I have a hard time with on the farm.. getting places for everyone to get up and out of the muck..

      • valbjerke says:

        We live on a heavy clay based soil that is miserable in the spring. We have tried most everything to give the livestock a place to get out of the muck. The answer for the horses was loads and loads of river rock on top of loads of shale. I would hesitate to use sand with the livestock – at least for anything that nibbles off the ground – I worry about sand colic with the horses as they like to get all the hay bits that fall out of the mangers. To that end I put down used industrial belting on top of the river rock where they eat.
        For the cows we’ve settled on using their waste hay to create a thick layer on top of the muck.

      • ya, the sand colic scares me as well.. thanks for letting me know what you did.. its great land when its dry but when its wet though.. ah..

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