How to Care for Trees After an Ice Storm

Broken-down TreesWe’ve already had some nasty weather here in Wisconsin this winter. So we thought we’d take a few moments to discuss what all of this ice and snow could be doing to your trees.

The primary danger is that your trees will see severely broken branches after a storm. Smaller trees can also be uprooted.

This is worth watching out for because damaged trees can be dangerous to keep around. Major tree damage is also pretty expensive to repair, so if you can catch it while it’s fairly minor you can save yourself some time and money.

Assess After Every Storm

Go outside and have a loo kat your trees when the weather is nicer. You’re looking for several things.

  • Broken branches
  • Bent branches
  • Uprooted trees
  • Trees with more than a 1/2″ snow and ice load

Let’s take these one at a time.

Broken Branches

Broken branches are a big hazard, and they need to be removed right away. Unfortunately, removing them incorrectly is just as bad as leaving them in place.

First, determine whether you feel confident that you’re the right person for the job. You should probably bring in a professional if you don’t feel comfortable, say, using a chain saw, or if there are power lines anywhere near where you’ll want or need to work.

If you do feel confident that you can remove the tree branch then just follow the excellent advice on the University of Illinois Extension site to learn how to complete the process correctly. It’s not our Extension, but the advice is good all the same.

Bent Branches

Bent branches are broken branches waiting to happen, so they do deserve your attention. These will need to be propped up with wood.

Be gentle, and go slow.

You can inch the branch up near its original position once per week until it’s back to normal. If you try to strain the branch too much right away, you’ll simply end up snapping it.

Uprooted Trees

Uprooted trees are likely to be pretty small, and the big question is whethero r not you’re going to be able to put them back in the ground.

If the tree’s original root system is still halfway in the ground then you’re in good shape. Straighten it then brace it so that it can self-correct over time.

Snow and Ice Load

Usually, you should just wait for snow and ice to melt on its own. However, if there’s more than half an inch of snow and you want to try to take the weight off your trees then yuou can spray them with cold water. This will help to hasten a melt.

Never use hot water, and never try to shake the trees. Shaking them will simply weaken them further, and leave them vulnerable to future breaks.

With a little vigilance you should be able to make it through rough winters with the bulk of your trees relatively in tact.

We’re fencing contractors working in Wauwatosa, Mequon, and the rest of the Milwaukee metro area. We do work throughout the winter, so long as the ground isn’t frozen. Contact us today for a free estimate on your brand new fence, pergola, or gazebo today.

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