During the winter months, falling snow and heavy ice formations can often cause stress to the tree branches on your property.
While the fluffy white snow is a natural insulator, blanketing and protecting tree roots during extremely low temperatures, its branches are often susceptible to breakage based on their natural weight limitations.
While it’s easier to manage smaller trees, which can often be reached with a broom or rake to release the accumulating snow and ice from overburdened branches, larger trees are more challenging due to their sheer size.
Here are a few things our certified arborists recommend to help prevent accumulating snow and ice from damaging your trees this winter season.
Prune Your Trees Before Winter Arrives
Proper tree pruning is essential for the overall health of your trees but also how they can safely endure snow and ice accumulations in the winter. Trees with abnormally large canopies that haven’t been properly pruned in several seasons are the most susceptible to breakage as limbs extend beyond their comfort zone, meaning they cannot handle the expanse when additional weight is applied. Tree pruning can be done any time of the year, but it is recommended in the fall in order to ward off insects and diseases from the open pruning locations.
Avoid Shaking the Branches
While your first instinct is to shake branches covered in fluffy white snow, this could actually cause more harm than good. Branches can become brittle in colder temperatures, and the unnatural shaking could split branches from the trunk. Additionally, shaking tree branches that ultimately break is risky as the branch could fall on power lines or injure the person doing the shaking.
A safer approach (for you and the tree) is using a soft broom to remove the snow gently. By lifting branches upward, slowly, you’re putting less stress on the limb while still removing the excess weight – safely. Larger trees should be left alone to let nature melt the snow and ice with the sun.
Snow Shoveling and Blowing
Often when you’re outside after a winter snowstorm, you’re not always aware of where you’re shoveling or blowing the snow you clean from sidewalks and driveways. Avoid depositing snow on shrubs and trees as the excess weight can damage and even break branches without realizing it. Snow blowing is especially problematic as the throwing distance can often reach low-hanging branches.
While protecting your trees from the weight of heavy snow and ice is important, protecting yourself is vital. Be careful not to park vehicles under large branches covered in snow or ice (if possible) and be mindful of walking underneath tree branches as well.
For more information on tree care during the winter months, give SavATree a call today!