Winter Tree Care Tips to Prevent Snow & Ice Damage

While it may feel like winter has been plaguing Missouri for months now, it’s only the beginning of the season. And snow or ice storms are damaging in more ways than one, especially when it comes to trees. Similarly, a broken branch can potentially cause problems for things other than the tree in question: roof damage, downed power lines, the list of dangers goes on. Take Hansen’s winter tree care tips for preventing snow and ice damage to save yourself a headache and possibly more.

Pre-Storm Prevention

In our last blog, we discussed some winter tree care tips to protect roots from freezing and thawing soil. However, there are some additional preparations you can accomplish to protect branches as well. The best habit you can have is good pruning. If trees are kept at a good length, the tree will be sturdier and less likely to fall prey to gravity. If you have a young tree, start a yearly pruning program. Because pruning is difficult to do correctly if you are inexperienced, and in some cases dangerous, consider hiring a professional to prune any tree.

Post-Storm Prevention

After a snowfall, apply the following winter tree care tips to ensure the snow does not damage your tree.

  • Avoid accumulation by regularly removing snow after every snowfall. In order to not be counterproductive, you should do everything possible to not break the branches while clearing off snow cover. Lightly brush snow off the branches with your hand or a broom, sweeping towards the trunk.
  • Don’t shake snow-covered branches or they may break.
  • Man-made snow cover created by snowplows, shovels, and snow blowers is typically denser than naturally falling snow. Therefore be extra careful with your snow fighting habits.

When All Else Fails: Damage Control

In some instances, ice damage is unavoidable. Don’t try and remove ice, as this is almost guaranteed to break branches. When your branches break, they should be removed. However, it is important to only remove dead bark and as little healthy, living bark as possible. If your tree’s broken branch has upset a power line, stay clear and call a professional like Hansen’s immediately.

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