Snow, Insulation, and Plants
Name: Marc James S.
I am a science teacher in Arizona and I am an
enthusiastic gardener. The problem with growing plants, flowers, and
vegetables in Arizona is that the sun is so hot that it destroys the
plants, vegetables and seeds. Anyway, through my research on how I could
make my garden grow I have stumbled on to the fact that snow is a great
insulator. I found that fresh snow is an excellent insulator. Ten inches
of fresh snow with a density of 0.07 inches, seven percent water, is
approximately equal to a six-inch-layer of fiberglass insulation with an
insulation R-value of R-18. If I were to store snow from the north in a
deep freezer over the winter, could I then put it on my garden in the hot
mid afternoon summer days. I want to know if the snow would be a great
alternative to watering all afternoon long. Could it actually destroy
the plants or help them grow stronger be keeping the temperatures cool
and slowly adding moisture instead of drenching it with water. We have
no snow to do any experiment and my class is excited to hear your answer.
Snow is an excellent insulator (during the winter). Not sure if this has ever been used in the
Anthon Brach, Ph.D
I am not sure that transporting low density snow from the mountains in winter and storing it for
several months in a freezer would be
cost-effective. But my question is: How long will the snow stay around if you cover a plant when
the air temperature is 110 F.!!! Wouldn't some sort of shade canopy be as effective and much
less costly? I seem to recall seeing such canopies in AZ state gardens.
I do not think there would be any harm done to plants from snow, but given
that the water content of most snow is around 10% by volume, it would take a
huge amount of snow to add significant water. If you have a 10'x20' garden
and covered it with 12" of snow, that would be 200 cubic feet of snow and
would add only a little more than 1/10" equivalent water.
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Update: June 2012