Helpful Tips on How to Protect Trees from Heavy Snow

Southeast Michigan homeowners are no stranger to the obstacles that heavy snow can create — from shoveling cars out of the driveway to navigating barely visible walkways. Beyond these more apparent wintertime frustrations are the hazards heavy snow creates for trees in your yard.

Considering that Michigan averages 64 inches of snow per year, it’s natural for flakes to pile up on trees throughout the winter season — especially when a snowstorm surfaces. When snow starts to accumulate in heavy amounts, it’s possible for branches to droop and eventually break. This can lead to trunk wounds that cause decay, while also creating safety issues for your yard.

Rather than have to deal with these issues, we want to put you ahead of the problem in the future, while offering advice on how to navigate for the present.

The No. 1 Source of Protection: Pruning Your Trees

Proper pruning is recognized as the best layer of defense for trees against imminent snowfall. With weak, dead branches removed before winter starts, the overall health of a tree improves. While the tree grows stronger and is better able to withstand the stress of harsh conditions, it’s less susceptible to the impact of heavy snow from both a health and general safety standpoint.

When it comes to what proper pruning entails, it’s a matter of both timing and technique. Best performed when trees are dormant (late fall or early spring) and are less susceptible to stress, pruning should be approached in a manner where cuts are made in the direction of growth and just outside of the tree branch collar (where a branch meets the trunk). In combination with the right tools, these efforts help tree pruning wounds properly heal and encourage healthy growth.

Little Things You Can Do Now That Make a Difference

While pruning may be a to-do that’s added to your tree care plan for this year, there are a few simple steps you can take now to help protect your trees from heavy snow. Let’s have a look.

Gently Brush Off Snow From Trees

When heavy snow accumulates on trees, you can relieve some of the stress it creates by brushing off the snow with either your hand or the upward motions of a soft broom. Considering the fragile, weak nature of tree branches in winter, it’s important to make this step a gentle one. Shaking tree branches too hard to remove snow can do more harm than good, causing damage or breakage.

In some cases, snow may be frozen to the tree branches from which you want to remove it. Taking into account the need for a gentle approach, it’s best to leave these snow-covered tree branches be and circle back once the ice has melted to brush off any snow.

Be Mindful of Where Shoveled Snow Goes

Shovels and snowblowers are designed to move snow out of high-traffic areas, but in doing so, the snow can land in other areas of your lawn, including trees. Compared to natural snowfall, this snow tends to be much denser and stick together, creating more room for it to cause stress and damage to tree branches. With this in mind, it’s important to direct shoveled or blown away snow in a direction away from trees and other plants within your landscape.

As a lawn and tree care provider, Lush Lawn & Safari Tree knows what it takes to protect Southeast Michigan landscapes from winter damage. So in the midst of temperature drops, winter winds and wet snow, you can be sure your landscape can withstand winter injury and thrive in the springtime. Let us help protect your home’s outdoor space — request a free quote!

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