Why is it Good to Have the Ground Covered by Snow?

This comes to us from Mary Tiedeman, Florida International University, and Soil Science Society of America's Blog, Soils Matter. The winter holidays may have come and gone, and we're headed toward the first day of spring. This is clearly good news if you aren't fond of winter. There will surely be a few more storms before snow is gone for good, though, so here's a little info to help you appreciate it and the crucial role it plays in maintaining healthy soils throughout the winter months. One of snow’s major jobs is to serve as a natural blanket, or insulator. Its effectiveness depends on the amount that collects before the weather gets too cold. Early winter snowfalls insulate the ground by preventing heat from escaping into the atmosphere and by blocking cold air from moving into the soil. By trapping heat energy, snow restricts the depth of the frost layer, or area of soil containing ice. In other words, soils with deep snow cover often have thinner frost layers than those without snow. The area below the frost layer serves as a refuge for animal and plant life that call it home. In turn, thinner frost layers provide more room for organisms to live during the winter months.  If you’d like to read more about how soil organisms survive the cold, check out our previous blogs “What Happens to

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