Monday, December 10, 2012

Snow weight damage to shrubs

As promised, today I'll touch on the damage a heavy winter snow fall can do to your shrubs and how to prevent it, if that is at all possible!

Depending on which Chicago winter Mother Nature presents us with - 100” season like 2010 or hardly a dusting like 2011 - your shrubs could potentially be damaged by heavy snowfall, and the tossing of the snow by shoveling, snow blowers, and plowing. The weight of heavy snow alone can be enough to damage shrubs. Compounding that weight by clearing snow from your walkways, driveways, decks, and patios onto your shrubs can cause serious harm. If possible, try to limit the amount of snow weight on your shrubs, especially the younger, less established ones.

Some of the most susceptible plants are boxwood, arborvitae, and yews.  Branches of smaller trees and shrubs can be loosely wrapped with soft cords, old nylon stockings tied together, or twine.  Strings of holiday lights are also helpful in keeping branches together and preventing snow or ice from bending the branches downward. These wrappings should be removed in early spring.
Try to resist the temptation to remove snow or ice by shaking branches.  This can cause breakage of limbs and tender plant tissue, especially when branches are frozen.  Normal amounts of snowfall usually melt or dry naturally, even during cold weather.  Take great care when emoving large amounts of snow from branches so as not to break limbs, especially terminal growth on trees or shrubs which can permanently disfigure the plant.  Never attempt to remove frozen ice on branches or loosen branches frozen to the ground.
Proper pruning to remove multiple leaders or weak branches will reduce chances of snow load damage. Examine your shrubs in mid- to late winter to determine the need for pruning.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. will get the job done for you!

Stay tuned as tomorrow I'l discuss how salt can damage your plants and shrubs.

Chicago area residents are invited to contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. today for a free estimate of any tree services needed or for firewood cord prices. 847-913-9069 or
Thanks for reading,

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