It’s impossible to live in Colorado and not know about the massive amount of snow Summit County got last week. Breckenridge saw 16.5” of snow from Wednesday through Friday morning. In classic Mayuary fashion, we went from lovely sunny skies on Wednesday morning to gloomy, apocalyptic snow on Thursday. Most of us want to hit the road whenever we see the late spring flakes start to fall, but the silver lining is that the storm is great for our high country plants!
Snow has a low atmospheric nitrogen content, which permeates into the soil as it falls. This makes the plants happy and we often see a great growth spurt after the snow melts away. Of course, it can also damage some plants, like vegetable seedlings and daffodils, which need to be covered up. In a storm like the one we just had, the snow is heavy and sticky because of the high temperatures. It melts fast, but it tears down tree branches. Budding Aspen trees and Cottonwoods need to be shaken after heavy snowfall so they don’t lose limbs.
Our snowpack this year was 109% of normal before the storm, which means great run-off. That’s good news for reservoirs and keeps fire danger low. More snow on top of our already solid pack will keep the moisture level here high, which is vital to healthy plant growth.
While we definitely grumbled about being stuck inside for another few days, spring snow is vital to our ecosystem and completely normal for Summit County. The trees and new plants are going to be pretty happy in a few weeks after getting covered up in their snow blanket.