Protecting Your Urban Forest This Spring: Pruning Winter Damaged Trees and Shrubs
winter broken trunk tree

As winter storms wreak havoc throughout the Minnesota, it’s important to be aware of some of the more common cold weather damage that trees and shrubs in urban areas suffer. Some types of damage can be lessened by pruning, but in other cases, the tree may need to be cut down or replaced. Here are a few tips to help you protect your urban forest this winter.

When Cold Weather Damage Occurs

Cold weather damage can occur during periods where temperatures drop drastically or when there is heavy wind or snowfall. Common signs of cold weather damage include broken twigs and branches, brown-tipped branches, bark splitting, defoliation, and heavy snow buildup on branches. If left unchecked, cold weather damage can cause lasting harm to the plants in your landscape.

Pruning Winter Damaged Trees And Shrubs

When it comes to caring for winter damaged trees and shrubs, timing is everything. It’s best to wait until late spring or early summer before pruning any cold weather damage that has occurred during the winter months. This helps prevent further disruption of healthy growth cycles by allowing the plant time to recover from the shock of frigid temperatures or storms. In addition, this will also give you a better view of which parts of the plant are truly dead and need to be removed or replaced entirely.

The proper pruning techniques for winter damaged trees and shrubs vary depending on the extent of the damage. If only a few branches are affected, it is best to prune them back to the main stem or trunk. When large sections of the plant are damaged, you may have to cut it back further in order to promote healthy regrowth later in the season.

Tree Removal And Replacement

In cases where cold weather damage has caused extensive harm to trees and shrubs, removal may be a more viable option than attempting to repair them. This could involve removing the entire tree or just parts of it that have been damaged beyond repair. If you want to cut down or replace a tree, you should talk to an experienced arborist who can help you decide what the best course of action is.

The Bottom Line

Cold weather damage is a common issue for trees and shrubs in urban areas during the winter months. By following the right pruning and removal techniques, you can help protect your urban forest this season. And if you’re ever unsure about how to handle cold weather damage or have questions regarding tree removal and replacement, be sure to seek out advice from an experienced arborist who can help guide you through the process.