Fill vases with a shiny finish, such as mercury glass, with iced branches and flowers to give your holiday centerpiece a sophisticated winter refresh. Add a few snowflake votives (these are Allen + Roth brand from Lowe’s) to transition into your new year look. Then while packing up ornaments, keep out shapes such as pinecones or finials, that can finish off the transformation.
Before ice arrives, search out the best ice melt for your situation. Salt products with sodium chloride can harm plants and concrete. Potassium chloride is less harmful. Calcium chloride is the top choice for effective ice melting with no harm to plants or surfaces. Some gardeners use urea fertilizers, which melt ice and won’t harm plants or concrete. It only works with temps above 11°F, so its usefulness is somewhat limited in coldest zones.
Birch branches are great for adding height to an area and also creating a more architectural look. For a masculine approach to holiday decorating, combine birch branches with cedar and pine cuttings in a rustic vessel or ice bucket. Here, a vintage camping container adds a touch of woodsy plaid to the organic arrangement.
When ice covers trees and shrubs, ditch the temptation to shake branches. This can actually damage plants. Branches should return to normal position once ice melts. If branches break under the icy weight, prune only what’s necessary to prevent further damage—and wait to do it when conditions are safe. Pruning with ice underfoot is never a good idea.