Preventing Ice Storm Damage to Trees
About this time of year, just when things start to warm up a little, there is always the threat of an ice storm rolling through and severely damaging our trees. The accumulation of snow and ice on our trees looks beautiful, a winter wonderland, but can be devastating. Those pretty icicles hanging down on those branches are very heavy and can lead to branch or even tree failure. Evergreen trees, such as live oaks, arborvitae, and juniper are especially susceptible as they hold on to their leafy weight all year long. Softwood trees, such as Pear and Ash trees, are also prone to branch breaks even though they have dropped their leaves for the winter. Other trees that have multiple leaders, narrow branches, including bark, or long heavy lateral limbs are also susceptible to damage from winter storms as the additional weight puts pressure on the weak points of the tree.
When we do get our next ice storm, you may be tempted to knock off the icicles. Branches covered in ice are more likely to break if the icy weight is suddenly removed and the branches snap back. The branches may be supported or cold (not hot) water can be used to spray down the icicles and allow them to melt off. Fluffy snow can be brushed off but once it becomes icy it is best to wait and allow the ice to melt.
How to Prevent Ice Damage
Proper tree trimming can greatly reduce the chances of limb or tree failure. The goal of the tree trimming is to reduce heavy limbs, remove multiple leaders, and remove weak and weakly attached limbs. Tree care, including proper fertilization and treatment of insects and diseases, can also improve the health of the trees and promote healthy root growth to reduce the chances of trees falling over or succumbing to the damage. Our ISA Certified Arborists can help identify trees that may need some tree maintenance to prevent winter damage.
Call our ISA Certified Arborists today for your free consultation.