Landscape Science

Lake Michigan’s “Coastal-Effect”

United States partial satellite image showing snow over northern Michigan

How one of the largest Great Lakes plays a role in your landscape.

When someone says they “live near the coast,” most individuals don’t think about northern Michigan. Northwest Michigan benefits from its proximity to Lake Michigan, keeping us warmer than we should be at this latitude as well as making it a very snowy place to live. Some days it seems as if it will never end, however, all of that precipitation creates opportunities not only for outdoor recreation but helps your landscape as well. Learn how the coastal effect impacts your landscape.

Plant Preservation

Average Annual Extreme Minimum Temperature in Michigan

One of the benefits of the coastal-effect is that the larger amount of snow received creates an insulating blanket for your landscape. The air trapped between your plants and the snow helps keep the soil a little warmer, and your landscaping installation protected from frigid temperatures and winds as they await warmer temperatures of spring.

Productive plant species, such as fruit trees, also enjoy the benefits of long, snowy winters. The constant freeze/thaw cycle found in interior regions of the state can be damaging to the development of buds and flowers. While you might not select a fruit-bearing tree, there are several other species the can contribute to this biodiversity such as ornamental shrubs and grasses.

It is no wonder that Northwest Michigan has a large production in fruit and vine harvests, creating some fantastic local wines!

The Big Snow Dump

There’s a lot of evaporation over the Great Lakes. That evaporation creates the thick, heavy, lake-effect snow locals are familiar with – and in some winters, more snow than we might otherwise receive.

Petoskey, for example, has an average annual snowfall of about 123 inches. Depending on the temperatures of a winter, this region of Northwest Michigan can receive more than 180 inches. During the winter of 2001, the Petoskey area received as much as 78 inches in a single snow event.

Snow Belts Map of Michigan
Image Courtesy: Department of Geography at Hunter College, CUNY.

Many of our clients live or work in the snow belts of northern Michigan. These snow belts are predictably east of large bodies of water, on the “leeward” side of the lakes. We understand this and help our clients prepare their landscapes for winter.

A large accumulation of snow can also keep a tree service in Michigan very busy. Copious amounts of heavy snow can down tree limbs, which in turn can create obstructions in driveways, roads or cause damage to property. Our tree service division works through all winter conditions to clear away trees that have already fallen or to be proactive and remove trees that are not fairing well with heavy snow.

Cleanup And Removal

Drost Landscape is your trusted source for reliable snow removal for both residential and commercial properties. We’re well-equipped to provide timely service to remove snow from driveways and sidewalks. Our crew also handles large-scale operations like snowbank removal from streets and parking lots. Living near the coast lets you enjoy the splendor of the winter season. Let the Drost team do the heavy lifting as one of the many seasonal landscape maintenance services we provide.

Midwestern States Normal Annual Snowfall
Image Courtesy: Midwest Regional Climate Center (MRCC)