Top Tips for Dealing With Snow and Ice on Your Trees
For most of the United States, this has been a particularly cold and icy week. What should you do when your trees (and other shrubs and plants) become covered in ice, frost, and snow ?
Here are some of our top tips for ensuring that your trees stay alive and safe during the coldest parts of the winter. We recommend keeping this in mind whenever your local area receives snow or frost.
Don’t Shake Branches Covered in Ice and Snow
While it may be tempting to shake off the branches of your trees that have a significant amount of snow and ice on them, try to avoid doing this. Shaking the branches, even gently, could cause damage or even breakage.
So what should you do? You can either allow the ice and snow to melt on its own, which is perfectly appropriate as long as it isn’t too heavy , or you can brush it off.
If you decide to brush off the snow, make sure to do so carefully and calmly, and make sure that you are being safe about it. Don’t stand directly under the branches, wear gloves, and don’t brush too vigorously.
For branches that do break during a snowstorm, try to remove it as soon as you possibly can. This will ensure that the tree/shrub can heal a little easier during the spring season.
Keep Watering Your Trees
Even though it isn’t hot outside, and your trees may not be seeing as much sun, they still need to be watered regularly. Continue regularly watering your trees and shrubs until your area gets a hard freeze.
In the event of a bad freeze, you can stop watering the trees, as it will simply add more ice to the area.
Having well-hydrated trees will give them a better chance of surviving the cold winter.
Prune Your Trees
You may see your trees and shrubs experiencing some breakage, especially during heavy snowfall. As we discussed before, it’s important to remove damaged and/or broken branches as soon as you possibly can to avoid further issues.
Pruning regularly throughout the winter should help you avoid excessive damage and breakage throughout the season. Consider pruning at the beginning of the cold season and continuing to do so until spring.
Consider Using Salt
If you have a severe ice and snow storm, you may have more to remove from trees than you can complete by brushing them off. This is where using salt or other melting agents may come in handy.
Before using a tool like this around your trees, you will need to consider that these agents can be damaging to your trees and plants by drawing the water away from their roots. If you have to use something, use it as sparingly as possible.
For example, your evergreen trees are going to be especially sensitive when salt is concerned. Common signs of damage for these trees are brown needles and leaves, simply due to the lack of water.
When using salt or other melting agents, we recommend building a barrier around them to protect the trees and plants from potential runoff. It is also a good idea to mix gravel and sand to the salt to minimize the damage.
When in Doubt, Call a Professional
If your local area receives excessive snow and ice, and you are unsure of how to deal with it, don’t hesitate to contact a trusted, local tree care professional. It is better to be safe rather than sorry, and this refers to both your safety and your trees.
For those of you in the San Francisco bay area, feel free to contact Arborist Now with any of your tree care needs this winter season.