Ice Storm Mitigation

dennis-macdonald-tree-branches-after-an-ice-stormWinter is far from over and it seems like we get at least one or more days of freezing rain in late winter. The freezing rain will cause ice to build up on the branches of trees and shrubs, and you might wonder if there’s anything you can do to help mitigate potential damage in your garden.

Usually, it’s best to just leave everything alone as a coating of ice for a day or two rarely hurts a plant. Branches may sag a bit, but then the ice melts or cracks off and all is well.

If, however, the ice is quite heavy and more ice is due, you can reduce the weight, and therefore the risk of damage, by carefully removing some of the ice. Use a soft broom and gently tap the branches, cracking the ice so it falls off. You don’t have to worry about removing all of it — just enough to lessen the weight on the branches. Be careful not to hit the branches too hard or you may end up damaging the bark or breaking off the buds. Also, use caution with large trees or shrubs so you don’t drop ice or branches on your head!

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