Winter weather brings many dangers - low temperatures, heavy snowfall, and even sheets of ice, which can be particularly harmful to trees. Most ice-covered trees are susceptible to breakage from the added weight, but some are better equipped to deal with the cold weather than others.
“There are a number of growth features that increase a tree species’ susceptibility to breakage in ice storms,” says Tchukki Andersen, TCIA’s staff arborist. “Among them are: included bark, decaying or dead branches, increased surface area of lateral (side) branches, broad crowns or imbalanced crowns, and fine branch size.”
Andersen recommends avoiding trees that have in-grown bark at branch junctions, and instead opt for trees that have fewer branches with included bark. And of course, unhealthy trees with decaying or dead branches are always very vulnerable to ice storm damage, and should be tended to accordingly by a qualified tree care professional.
Ice Storm Damage Prevention
A little planning ahead can help you reduce ice storm damage to your tree canopy. Make sure to plant your tree far away from above-ground utilities, and prune your trees on a regular basis to avoid accumulating structurally weak branches. A professional arborist can even install cables and braces to increase a tree’s tolerance to ice accumulation and stabilize the plant.
Are you a homeowner who would like to learn more about planting ice resistant trees? Check out TCIA’s latest press release: “Plant Ice Resistant Trees.”
If you run a TCIA member tree care company and are concerned about ice storms affecting your business, consider joining TCIA’s Storm Network. Companies in the network are willing to help other TCIA members in their time of need. Plus, TCIA member companies can add their company name if they are willing to accept assistance in case of emergencies. You can access the list here (must be logged in to view.)