How to Take Care of Your Trees After Heavy Snowfall
Updated: Feb 24
Spring snows surely have the potential to wreak havoc on our trees and bushes. The heavy, wet snow, being much more likely to stick to branches than the dry fluffy snows of winter, piles up creating an extremely heavy load for the tree and all its tender spring growth to bear.
It is not uncommon to see trees with limbs completely snapped off under the weight of the snow. This is devastating to see. Trees and bushes that have taken much time and energy to cultivate and grow into thriving plants, pummeled year after year by the unrelenting, and untimely bombardment.
Though it is a difficult event to dodge, there are some things that can be done to help your trees fare a little better when the snow hits.
Remove Snow From Branches
As the snow starts to pile up, do your trees a favor and help lighten the load. Depending on how quickly the snow is coming down, a couple of trips outside to shake the snow off as many of the branches as you can reach will help your tree keep its branches upright.
Be Gentle! Push Up on Branches Instead of Shaking Them
Though shaking off branches is helpful, it must be done carefully, or it could cause more damage to the tree! If branches are already under significant stress, hitting the branches or shaking them vigorously only causes extra strain, which can cause branches to break when they otherwise might not have. Rather than hitting or shaking branches from above, gently push up on the branches from below to loosen as much snow as possible.
Properly Remove the Broken Limbs
In the event that branches do break, it is important to properly remove the broken limbs. Pruning the broken branch at the point where it joins a larger branch can help lessen the risk of decay, insects, or diseases affecting the wounded tree. Your tree might look a little wonky after pruning, but don’t worry, with spring so close, it will quickly grow foliage and new branches to fill in the holes.
Assess Your Tree's Health
When pruning, be careful to only take what is necessary. Over-pruning could put the tree at even greater risk. You can assess the health of your own trees by the limbs and branches that are intact. If the tree’s main trunk is still intact, with most of its major branches, and at least half of its crown (branches at the top which grow out of the main trunk), the tree will stand a likely chance of recovering completely.
Safety First! Be Wary of Nearby Power Lines
In the case of downed trees and limbs, be wary of nearby power lines that could have been caught in the branches. Avoid standing beneath broken, hanging branches, and in the case of branches that have fallen on roofs or cars, or any branches that are too large to be handled personally, call your local tree service. Remember: your safety comes first! They will have all the equipment to handle the situation safely and effectively, without causing any more damage to you, the tree, or the surrounding area.
With imminent spring snowstorms, take the time to learn how you can best protect your trees and bushes in winter. Help ensure that they will be looking their best-come summer, and help them remain happy and healthy for years to come!
Tabachnik, Sam. “Late spring snowstorm damage your trees? Here’s what you need to know.” Denver Post. 21 May 2019. Web. Date Accessed: 16 April 2020. Retrieved from https://www.denverpost.com/2019/05/21/denver-colorado-snow-storm-tree-damage-tips/