Prevent Winter Tree Damage: Prepare Before a Snowstorm


Storm damage to your trees is a real possibility — especially in a Utah winter. But you can avoid major winter tree damage, as long as you take the proper precautions and keep up with regular tree maintenance before and after the season.

Before the Storm When you’re preparing your trees for winter, it helps to have a certified arborist take a look at the vegetation. They can guide you through the pruning process to ensure your trees are ready for the cold season, so they come back fuller than ever in the spring. Snow and ice can be heavy. If you have trees on your property with multiple thin branches that bow under the weight of snow (usually Arborvitae), tie them together or to the trunk with twine so they will be more likely to support the weight of the precipitation without breaking. Untie branches in the spring to avoid causing long-term damage. Since frost can damage tree roots, especially in young trees, spread a thick layer of mulch around the base of your trees and shallow-rooted plants as an effective preservation measure. Keep an eye on your trees during snowstorms. If you’re getting particularly heavy precipitation, use a broom to knock some of the snow off branches when they start to bend under the weight. Assessing the Damage Post-Storm After a snowstorm, assess the extent of the damage. If your tree’s branches are cracked and hanging, avoid getting too close. Never touch a tree whose branches are entangled in downed electrical wires either. Instead, call a professional tree service and have them remove the broken parts. Broken branches that are pulling away from the tree’s trunk should be removed at the bottom of the break. If the branch is damaged but still firmly attached to the trunk, prune it carefully after the more severe damage is taken care of. If more than 50 percent of the tree’s crown is damaged, it’s less likely that the tree will survive. Also, if the tree is leaning heavily to one side, this is a sign of root damage, and trees typically do not recover fully from this unless they are still very young. Severe winter tree damage may mean you must remove the entire tree come springtime. Still, it’s best to wait and see how the tree responds, as long as it’s not endangering your property. Trust your arborist for a professional assessment. Rivendell Tree Experts can help you prevent, minimize and recover from winter tree damage. Face off against Utah’s brutal winter with the help of a team of highly trained arborists on your side. Call today for regular pruning, free tree risk assessment or emergency tree service.

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