Heavy snow and ice storms cause damage by bending and breaking branches.
Multiple leader, upright evergreens, such as arborvitae and juniper, and
multiple leader or clump trees, such as birch, are most subject to snow and ice
damage. Contact-Us at Village Landscapes for a free consultation for the best solutions and treatment of your damaged plants. Corrective pruning to help improve the shape of damaged trees is best
done now. The trees and shrubs will respond quickly this spring if it has not been
severely damaged. Breakage of branches is usually related to snow and ice. Two causes of
damage by snow and ice are weight and careless snow removal. High winds
compound the damage done to ice-covered plants. Damage may take the
form of misshapen plants, or may actually result in broken branches and
Should You Remove Snow and Ice?In most cases, snow is a very positive thing for your plants and garden. Snow is a great
insulator, and it melts to provide much needed water to dry plants in
the winter. Heavy snow and ice buildup can cause devastating
damage in the garden if limbs and trunks bend or break. Contact Us for an evaluation of the damage done to your plants and trees. Here’s what you
need to know about dealing with snow and ice in the yard and garden.
- Natural Snow Cover: Even if it’s deep, a blanket
or windblown drift of snow is nothing to worry about – in fact, it acts
as an extra layer of insulating mulch!
- Man-made Snow Cover: Most snow damage is caused by snowplows, shovels, and snow-blowers. Pushed or
mechanically blown snow is dense and slow to melt, and it can break a
strong shrub right in two.
- Bent Branches: Tender branches may become broken or weighed down with heavy snow and might have a
hard time springing back into shape. The fallen snow can also melt and
refreeze to form devastating ice.
- Snow from Roofs: Carefully remove snow from roofs if possible. Consider trying to protect your shrubs right under the roof line from the heavy snow falling off the roof. Continue to monitor and remove the piles of snow that may cascade down onto
your shrubs from the roof above.
How to Remove Snow from Shrubs and Plants
- Using a broom or your hands: Always sweep in an upward motion, loosening the snow and allowing it to fall.
Don’t sweep downward, as this could break an already bent branch. Do not shake the plant. The branches will be very brittle and already
stressed, so disturb them as little as possible.
- Avoid Accumulation: You’ll have much less damage
to your plants if you remove snow after every couple of inches of
accumulation, rather than waiting until it’s deep.
- Leave Ice Alone: Don’t try to remove ice, as the branch will likely break. Once ice has formed, you really should just wait it out.
- Keep Off Grass: Snow covered grass is fragile,
easily uprooted, and susceptible to fungal diseases under the snow.
Reducing foot traffic will help the snow stay light and melt faster,
and it will keep your grass blades firmly rooted.
- Avoid Salt: Salt can damage lawns and plants when
it runs off your driveway. If your plants have been exposed to salt,
water and rinse them well as soon as temperatures are above freezing.
Next time, use sand or clay-based kitty litter instead of salt.
- Prune Damaged Limbs: Head outdoors as soon as the
ice melts to assess damage. Cracked branches can sometimes heal if
they’re firmly tied back in place. Broken branches should be pruned
away immediately to prevent injury and disease. Contact Us for immediate service. Ragged tears are very
susceptible to infection, so remove damaged wood using clean cuts.
- Wait for Spring: The extent of the damage often
won’t be clear until spring, when you find out if your plant will be
able to spring back into shape. Set up an appointment with us now for early spring to evaluate the extent of the winter damage.