Ice and Snow Care for Trees and Shrubs
The nation’s landscape industry association offers tips for homeowners when dealing with snow and ice covered trees and plants.
Never Shake Branches. Homeowners should gently brush off snow. Shaking the limbs may break them. Use hands to scoop the snow away from plants to protect them from settling snow.
Use Care When Shoveling, Plowing or Blowing Snow. Place posts with reflectors next to plants so that they are well marked; you don’t want snow to be shoveled on top of plants.
Don’t Remove Snow. Let It Melt. If the snow is heavily packed down around a plant, it is better to let the snow melt than to try to dig out your plants. Digging them out can do more harm than good.
Remove Broken Limbs. If the limb of a shrub, bush or tree is broken, remove it as soon as possible. Make a clean cut which will make it harder for insects and diseases to enter the stressed plant.
Keep Plants Well Hydrated. Evergreen plants continue to transpire, or lose water through their leaves, even in the winter. Plants that are well hydrated until a hard freeze have a better chance for survival.
Place Protective Fencing Around Vulnerable Plants. Salt and melting agents for snow and ice can potentially damage plant material along walkways and driveways. Protective fencing can keep the salt from severely damaging evergreen plant material, as well as groundcovers.
Cover Plants with Frost Protection. Be ready to cover plants with frost protection fabric, such as burlap wrapping, especially at night. Just remember to remove the cover as soon as it begins to warm up again.
Minimize Salt Damage. Salt and melting agents for snow and ice can damage plants and trees by drawing water away from their roots. If you’ve been using melting agents, get rid of salt by flushing out the soil with plenty of water. Build barriers to protect the plans from runoff to help minimize damage.
“It is tempting to want to shake the ice off branches, but that normally does more harm than good,” said Sabeena Hickman, PLANET CEO. “It is best not to touch icy branches until the temperatures rise and then if you have concerns about damage, consult an arborist or landscape professional.”
For more information about caring for plants in winter, visit www.loveyourlandscape.com.
PLANET is the national trade association representing more than 100,000 landscape industry professionals, who create and maintain healthy, green living spaces for communities across America. PLANET members are committed to the highest standards in industry education, best practices and business professionalism. Many of PLANET’s professionals have attained the status of becoming Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the greatest level of industry expertise and knowledge. Visit PLANET at www.landcarenetwork.org.