Ice Storms and Trees

Ice Storms and Trees

In the wake of this week's ice storm, beauty could be found in the trees and shrubs glistening in the sun. But what about the effects of ice build up on trees?

Ice can increase the weight of branches by 30 times. Tree branches drooped down to the ground, limbs broke, and in some cases even toppled whole trees.

Nichole Stoner, Extension Educator at University of Nebraska said letting the ice melt naturally was good practice, “Trees and shrubs that are bent, but not broken, by the weight of ice will often recover without special care.”

For example, evergreens weighed down by the ice will most likely pop back up to their normal stature after the ice melts. If you have only small limbs and twig damage, the tree will likely make a full recovery on its own.

The most susceptible trees for ice damage are fast-growing tree species like Elms, Silver Maples, and Green Ash. Pear trees are also an easy ice target as their limbs do not grow with good branch attachment and are structurally weak.

If many large branches are damaged, the tree may be ok with conservative pruning, care, and time.

Stoner recommends hiring a certified arborist or tree pruning professionals to help assess the damage and determine a plan of action.

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Source:; Nebraska Extension Office