It ‘May’ keep on snowing |

It ‘May’ keep on snowing

Come nighttime, with five terra cotta pots of newly planted yellow, blue and crimson pansies lovingly placed by the door, the Tahoe newcomer falls asleep, wondering if there is anything more satisfying than springtime gardening after months of dreary winter.

And then it snows, again. All night.

“But it’s May!” the disheartened transplant-from-more-temperate-climes moans loudly to co-workers the next day. They just nod knowingly, smiling -they know better than to plant their delicate annuals before June.

“You can’t fool Mother Nature, stick to hardy plants,” said Ron Zehren, of Zehren’s Landscape Nursery, a gardener for nearly 40 years. “May weather is cyclical – it never fails – you never know what will come.”

Basically, according to Zehren, the best thing an anxious gardener can do at this time of year when snow and sun are desperately fighting for air time, is rake, rake, rake.

“The main thing in Tahoe is to get that acid out of your yard. Pick-up your pine needles and cones because that acid burns and you have to get rid of it,” Zehren said. “Rake the ground, get those beds clean so you can see what’s coming up.”

As for the daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths eagerly poking their itty-bitty heads through the soil, May snow showers are a welcome watering opportunity and nothing to worry about, Zehren said.

But inquiring minds want to know when these depressing snowfalls will give way to balmy summer days.

“A low pressure system moved into the area overnight Sunday and caused the snow,” said Steve Adams, a meteorologist at the Reno office of the National Weather Service. “It really didn’t look like it would be as strong as it actually was. Occasionally we get caught by surprise, but it’s going to get a lot better by mid-week.”

Adams said beginning today, and at least until Friday, conditions should be warm and sunny, with springtime temperatures ranging around 60 degrees.

“It’s a very changeable time of year,” he said. “As the jet stream starts to lift, usually you get some light snow even into early May, but obviously it becomes more infrequent as we get into the middle of the month.”

So, in a nutshell, gentle snowfall does not harm sturdy perennials. What will hurt them is intense temperature changes and extreme winds.

“That will make plants black and brown and make them wilt,” Zehren said. “Snow just insulates them, it’s a form of watering.”

Want to Clean up?

Bag your pine needles and pine cones and bring your tree limbs to Kingsbury Fire Station, Round Hill Fire Station, Zephyr Cove Fire Station or Glenbrook Fire Station for recycling.

Date: May 1 to June 8

Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Information: (775) 588-3591

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