Dealing with Snow and Ice-Damaged Trees Post Winter Storms: An Essential Guide
When winter storms blow into New York, they can leave behind a dense blanket of snow or an unbreakable sheet of ice. Thanks to the weight and wind from these harsh conditions, trees and shrubs may break or even collapse in some cases. How you handle damaged tree limbs caused by winter weather is essential for their health and longevity; not just when it’s cold outside but also once the snow melts away!
Are you looking for ways to protect your trees during winter storms? Worry not, as this article is here to help! Here, we provide advice on how best to prevent snow and ice damage in the first place. We will also discuss strategies for assessing safety concerns and tree damages after a storm has passed. You’ll learn which types of trees are more likely to survive a blizzard or hailstorms as well as approaches that can be employed should they experience some form of damage—all while understanding why patience post-storm is both necessary and beneficial.
Secure Your Trees Against Ice & Snow Damage This Winter
Every winter, Clarence and New York residents must equip themselves with hats, gloves, winter boots and snow shovels in order to brave the cold. Similarly your trees require pre-winter preparation so they can survive the season too! With a few small steps you can make sure that your precious trees are protected from the harsh weather just like you. So don’t leave them unprepared – start taking action now for their safety this upcoming winter season!
As the winter season approaches, it’s essential to inspect your trees beforehand and prepare them for snowfall. Carefully analyze each large tree in particular, looking out for any broken, dead or unbalanced branches that might snap under the weight of heavy snow or high winds. Additionally, be sure to prune back any tall branches next to walkways or roads as these may become hazardous when weighed down with ice and snow. Finally–don’t forget about power lines! Make sure your trees haven’t grown too close overhead so you can avoid a potential outage during the stormy months ahead.
Don’t forget to plan for pruning before the approaching winter weather arrives! While our staff is available throughout the year, we won’t be able to work in dangerous conditions. Plus, with an influx of emergency tree-care requests during or after storms, you may have difficulty scheduling a visit if you wait until it’s too late. To ensure that your trees are taken care of and remain safe this season, book an appointment as soon as possible!
Here’s a pro tip: To maintain your trees’ natural shapes and prevent any future winter growth or damage, invest in preventive pruning. We all know how an undesirable haircut can look, which is why it’s important to take preemptive measures before the tree becomes affected by its environment. Prune those branches now for best results!
Post Snow Or Ice Storm
Once you step outside after a winter storm, the snow-covered environment can be an awe-inspiring sight. However, if the storm has been especially intense and left behind excessive amounts of snow or ice, then it is time to pause and assess your surroundings with caution.
Ensure that any fallen tree branches or trees have not obstructed either your driveway or the public right-of-way in front of your property.
- When storm damage is present on your property, contact a tree service professional immediately. Be prepared to call back in case the company has many emergency cases that need immediate attention. Tree care companies typically prioritize life-threatening issues as well as public safety hazards, followed by significant damages such as trees falling through roofs and then non-safety related or property damaged ones. To help clear downed branches across sidewalks or roads faster, reach out to your local municipal works department or dial the non-emergency number for assistance quickly!
If you notice any damage to your utility lines or tree branches that could be impacting them, it is best to take immediate action. Contact your local utility company right away should the situation arise.
Analyze The Damage
To ensure the trees on your property are maintained and healthy, it is important to conduct an inspection. Although some signs of damage may be apparent, there could also be underlying issues that require further investigation; thus if you’re uncertain about what needs to be done, don’t hesitate to contact a tree care professional for detailed assessment.
After a winter storm, the following indications of tree damage are apparent: snapped and dangling branches, bark tearing off, broken or harmed cables, trees and arms bent under the pressure of snow/ice accumulation, a split apart tree trunk, a leaning structure with missing leader (the primary upward limb), cracked/split appendages (these may not be immediately perceptible from ground level).
Don’t be too discouraged by the destruction; a lot of trees possess an innate capacity for resilience. With proper upkeep and maintenance, a healthy tree that isn’t beyond repair can make its way back to good condition in no time at all!
If a tree was sound before the storm, has its leader intact, most major limbs and more than half of its branches remaining, it stands an excellent chance of making a full recovery.
If a tree has more than fifty percent of its branches removed, including its most important scaffold branches, it should be cut down immediately. Pruning won’t help the situation and topping is not an option here; saving this tree is highly improbable due to the extent of damage inflicted.
After a snowstorm, here are the top 4 mistakes to avoid for your safety and well-being.
1 – Under no circumstances should you go near a tree that is in contact with power lines, or attempt to take it down yourself. Ice can be deadly! Not only does electricity travel through it, but people of all ages may slip and fall on its slippery surface – making the use of power tools strictly off-limits unless handled by trained professionals.
2 – Don’t tempt fate by standing under a tree that’s weighed down with snow and ice, even if you have a hard hat. Underestimating danger often leads to unnecessary ER visits- so why take the risk? Let nature run its course; observe from afar in safety as the snow and ice melt.
3 – Avoid shaking branches to clear them of snow and ice, as these objects are heavier than you may expect and their motion is often unpredictable.
4 – Under no circumstances should you use a hose to remove snow from branches or pathways. Even if it’s an overly sunny and warm winter day, temperatures can drop dramatically at night time, resulting in more treacherous ice on the ground – something none of us need!
What You Can Do Instead
If you’re able to reach them from the ground, small shrubs and trees can be cleared of ice and snow using a broom. Gently tap off the frozen precipitation until it no longer sticks – but don’t try to force it off if it resists; remember that branches become brittle in wintery weather. Additionally, fallen twigs should be removed from pathways with either sweeping or shoveling motions, while snow can likewise be swept away for easy access into your home.
Trees More Likely To Sustain Snow Damage
Certain species of trees are predisposed to extreme winter weather conditions like snow and ice. This is not their fault, it’s just how they were designed. The following types of trees can be more vulnerable:
- Evergreen trees possess lush crowns, holding onto snow and ice in ways that deciduous trees can’t. Depending on the size of evergreens and how severe the winter weather is, branches may bend to support their weighty coats. However, don’t be shocked if a branch snaps – especially for arborvitae, yews, junipers or hollies which are particularly susceptible to frigid conditions!
- Trees with softer wood, such as Callery pear (Bradford pear), willow, birch and poplar often grow faster than their hardwood counterparts and thus have weaker branches. As a result, these trees are more prone to breakage during winter storms compared to slower growing hardwoods.
- When trees have multiple trunks or leaders, they are more prone to destruction from ice and snow. The branches tend to fuse together at the base, leading to an accumulation of bark around that area. Areas with high concentrations of bark can be hubs for decay and detachment, making them risky locations in adverse weather conditions.
- Trees with more upright, vertical branches and close branch crotches – such as yews and juniper cultivars – will usually carry snow or ice better than other trees. These are referred to as fastigiate trees.
Properly pruning throughout a tree’s life will promote flexibility and resistance to environmental dangers. Yet, even if you can’t consistently trim the branches over time, judicious pruning at any stage of its growth still offers substantial benefits – just stay away from cutting back in autumn!
Please be aware that for small, upright trees and shrubs, tying or wrapping them in burlap can help keep snow and ice away from their branches; however, this method is not practical for larger plants.
Ice and snow in trees should be left alone, as Nature will take care of it with clear skies and higher daytime temperatures to help the melting process. Also, a fallen tree or broken branches caused by storms do not necessarily need immediate removal – they can stay where they are until spring when professional pruning is recommended for safety reasons.
To ensure that people and property remain safe during this time, examine damaged trees closely before deciding whether to keep them standing or call for an appointment to have them removed.
Have a Tree Care List
Make sure to include an appointment for tree evaluation or pruning on your holiday to-do list! You may not think it’s a festive task, but taking preventative measures against winter storm damage is best practice. Our team specializes in ensuring trees remain vibrant and healthy–it’s much easier than trying to fix the aftermath of destruction. Your efforts will be rewarded when you see new leaves and flowers blossoming from their strong branches next spring season!