Friday, February 4th, 2011...7:46 am

Protecting Plants from Snow and Ice in the Winter

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Ice Tree by Spiritwoman1

There are many websites about how to plan to prevent damage to trees in winter snow or ice storms.  See here, for example.   These articles tell one how to pick strong trees that won’t be as prone to winter breakage and how to wrap trees or shrubs to try to protect these plants from damage.

But no one expected such a harsh winter as we are having this year and no one predicted the amount of snow. When I checked the Farmer’s Almanac in 2010, they predicted a rather normal winter. They have an updated version if you want to see what they think will happen for the rest of the winter.  See here.  So at this stage of winter, no one can really tell you what damage your shrubs and trees will suffer because of the amount of snow we have had. We will all have to wait to see how our plants survive.

Juniperus virginiana by claytonsnatives

One of the things most sources say is not to hit the shrubs and trees that are bent from ice and snow. Sometimes the hitting will cause the branches to spring back too harshly and will cause the branch to snap. On the other hand, this GardenLady does try to knock off the snow from branches that are weighted down in areas overhanging paths and has never broken branches. I always did it very gently and carefully. This year I had someone else do my shoveling and he did break a small branch of my cedar Juniperus virginiana tree. But, believe me when I say, the loss was worth it to have someone young do the job that I can no longer do- shovel 14inches of snow onto piles of already shoveled snow. I will still love my tree even though it is not quite as balanced looking.

When the snows melt will be time enough to access the damage to shrubs and trees and prune or cut down accordingly. If you do have broken branches, you can cut them down any time of the year if they are in the way. Good websites to show what to do/how to prune due to snow damage are here and here.

Otherwise sit back and enjoy the beauty.

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