Ice, Snow and Your Tree’s Health

We usually talk about – and experience – snowstorms as opposed to ice storms in these parts, but that’s not to say we haven’t seen our fair share of ice storms in St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Eagan and the like. And as beautiful as an ice storm might look from the comfort of your home, the ice not only wreaks havoc on the roads, but potentially, also, on your trees.

Ice buildup on trees can increase the weight of a tree’s branches by 30 times. That’s a lot of weight, to be sure, which can cause a lot of damage.

Ice can cause branches to snap and break, or even cause a tree to topple over altogether, which can, in turn, damage your home, your deck or even injure someone in its path.

What to do if ice or snow builds up on your tree’s branches

If you see a lot snow or ice on the branches of your trees, the best thing to do, as long as the branches are not damaged, is to let them be. As the weather improves, the branches should return to their normal state naturally.

This is true even if the branches are completely drooped over and you have the urge to shake the snow off the tree. Believe it or not, it’s best to leave the tree be unless it’s covered in light, fluffy snow. While you might have the best intentions in mind, shaking any branches coated in ice or snow can cause damage or even breakage. What’s more, knocking the ice off of a tree can cause it to snap back suddenly, potentially damaging the tree’s circulation.

On the other hand, if you have trees with branches that broke or snapped due to snow and ice, you will want to trim those branches leaving a clean cut. If you simply leave it as a break, the tree will not heal naturally and will risk decay.

Of course, if the branches are up too high and out of reach for you to safely trim yourself, please call a professional so you can avoid injury. In fact, winter time is a perfectly safe time to prune trees.

And, to prevent damage before it’s a threat, call a professional tree service company like Urban Tree to prune your trees. We can provide you a free estimate and determine which trees should be pruned now as opposed to waiting.

So here’s to winter, some snow, minimal ice and healthy trees in St. Paul, Minneapolis and the entire metropolitan area.