Waking up to a fluffy, sparkly Winter wonderland in your garden may look lovely, but never underestimate the weight of snow and ice sitting on the roof of your polytunnel.
With the UK weather forecast predicting heavy snow showers from tonight for the rest of the week, and with very strong winds being thrown into the mix for the second half of the week, please see our hints and tips below on how to protect your polytunnel when it snows and is windy…
The weight of snow (even if it doesn’t look like a lot, it will weigh a lot!) can put strain on the polytunnel frame and may cause the polythene cover to stretch and sag if left to lie on the roof. Therefore, we recommend that snow is brushed off the polytunnel as soon as possible.
Remove excess snow by tapping on the sides and roof of the polytunnel cover. Use a soft brush to gently knock snow from the harder to reach areas/roof.
Some people may think that the snow will act as an insulating layer for a polytunnel, however this is not the case – the snow will block any sunlight from entering the polytunnel, preventing the sun from warming the tunnel during daylight hours, slowing down the growth rate of your plants.
Hints and Tips from our customers…
"Use a gas or electric heater inside the tunnel to turn up the temperature and encourage the snow to slide off!" (Do not point heat sources directly at the polythene).
‘BELT AND BRACES’ METHOD – Tried, tested and recommended by a customer on the Shetland Isles – "In very heavy snowfall support the curved roof with timber struts inside the tunnel, positioned from the ground up to the centre of the hoops (excluding the end hoops)".
Click here to watch a customer video, showing clearing snow off his polytunnel.
When the winds start to pick up again from the middle of the week, we recommend securing your polytunnel by ensuring that door catches are fixed tight and that doors and side vents are secure. Doors which rattle in gales can be reinforced using timber braces or heavy weight against the door.
During storms and strong winds, be on the lookout for flying debris or falling branches which may fall and puncture the polytunnel cover. Repair Tape is always handy to have on standby for those unforeseen mishaps.