Harsh winter weather with wind, ice, and snow can wreak havoc on your trees and shrubs causing numerous split and broken branches. Early snow and ice storms can be even more deadly with the foliage still on deciduous trees and shrubs.
Recent research shows that climate change is bringing us more destructive ice storms and storms mixed with both snow and ice, rather than those gentle snow events once so common. While a snowstorm of light fluffy snow is a boon to the garden, an ice-filled storm is another matter altogether.
Softwood tree species like pines, spruces, fir and cedars are more flexible and less prone to winter storm damage than hardwood species like oaks, maples, hickories and poplars. But, in a really bad icing event any woody plant can take a hit.
What should you do when woody plants get hammered?
The rule of thumb in winter or at any time of year for that matter, is to remove dead and broken branches as soon as possible. This can help prevent further splitting of wood, winter desiccation of exposed inner wood, and attacks by insects and disease on exposed wood when the weather warms up.
Even if you aren’t a trained pruner, you can accomplish many of these smaller pruning jobs by yourself. Call a certified arborist, though, for damage to large branches and taller trees.
Your DIY toolkit should include:
1) a sharp pair of bypass pruners (I like Felco pruners)
2) a sharp pair of loppers (again, I like Felco)
3) a medium sized pruning saw (I like Silky saws with dual teeth).
Check out the helpful photos of how to prune on “Ramblin Through Dave’s Garden”
After you prune, there is no need to “seal” or “paint” the wound. This is an old fashioned practice that has been proven to be unproductive.
Hopefully you won’t have any damage this winter, but if you do, you’ll know what to do!
From Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!