There’s nothing like a gorgeous winter wonderland in Northern Virginia. Snow is generally rare enough that most of us still consider it a treat. But heavy snow and ice can damage trees and shrubs. Improper snow removal can also hurt fragile plants. That’s why preparing trees and shrubs for winter weather is essential. Professional pruning can help your landscaping survive and thrive if damage occurs.
Which Trees and Shrubs Are Susceptible to Damage?
According to Iowa State University, multi-stemmed evergreens that branch just above the ground are particularly susceptible to branch breakage. This category includes junipers, yews and arborvitae. Weak-wooded deciduous trees, including Siberian elm, silver maple, Bradford pear, weeping willows and box elder are also vulnerable to damage.
- How Can I Remove Ice from My Trees and Shrubs?
- Overall, ice storms do more damage to trees and shrubs than snow. The weight of ice when it covers branches can cause breakage. If your plants get coated with ice, remember the following tips:
- Don’t remove ice by hitting the branches with a rake. You can break branches.
- Applying hot water can hurt your plants.
- Instead, spray the branches with cold water to help melt the ice.
- If branches break on a larger tree, it’s best to leave it alone until the ice melts since falling limbs can present a safety risk.
How Can I Prevent Damage During a Snowstorm?
When winter weather is in the forecast, there are several steps you can take to protect your plants:
- Tie delicate trees and shrubs into a cone shape ahead of projected storms to keep branches safe.Go out
- every few hours to gently brush the snow from vulnerable/valuable plants.
- When removing snow from evergreen branches, brush upward–not downward.
- Shelter plants near the house from snow sliding off the roof.
- Avoid shoveling or blowing snow onto shrubs along walkways and driveways.
- Your landscaper can prune your trees with minimizing snow damage in mind.
What Are Signs of Snow Damage?
After a snowstorm, look for:
- Bent or twisted branches
- Leaning trees
- Broken, dangling or fallen branches
- Cracks in the trunk or limbs
- Visible damage to roots.
What Should I Do If Snow or Ice Damages My Trees?
If you have snow or ice damage to valuable trees and shrubs, the best option is to call a professional landscaping team for late-winter pruning. While we may not be able to work miracles with extensive damage, we can often prune trees and shrubs back to health and restore their shape. Pruning in late winter allows you to take advantage of the tree’s dormant period to promote spring growth. DIY pruning is also an option, but avoid cutting too early or too much. You can damage your trees even further. At Epling Landscaping and Lawn Services, our team has the artistry and experience to help you restore trees and shrubs damaged by winter weather back to health and promote healthy growth in spring. With pruning, mulching and winter storm protection techniques, we can keep your landscape healthy all winter long.