Newswise — Feb. 16, 2017 – Snow is fun for sledding and skiing, but what is its role in soil protection? The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) February 15 Soils Matter blog post explains the crucial role of snow for healthy soils.

Snow acts as a protective blanket for soil, insulating it from extreme cold. Deeper snow cover means the plants and animals that live in the soil have to contend with less frozen soil. Less frozen soil will also means more water absorption in the spring: “Thawed soils are far better at taking in and storing meltwater than frozen soils,” writes soil scientist Mary Tiedeman.

The snow also protects against freeze-thaw cycles. These cycles cause the soil to heave, sometimes damaging infrastructure such as roads and sidewalks. Perennial plants can also be heaved upwards, exposing their roots.

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The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members and 1,000+ certified professionals dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The Society provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.