Winter is almost over, and spring is on the way. This transitional period from one season to another can result in unpredictable and tumultuous weather patterns. When precipitation falls from a layer of cold air in the atmosphere through a warm layer and then down through another cold layer, it can result in freezing rain. The resulting ice accumulation can cause severe damage to trees on your property. Broken branches and tree limbs could fall and cause injury or damage to your home, yet it is dangerous to remove them without the assistance of a tree pruning service.
If you’re lucky enough to escape damage to trees from ice this winter, spring is the time to think about having them pruned to prevent future problems. However, if you do have damage to trees from ice, you should contact a professional to deal with it as soon as possible. In either case, it may be helpful to know how and why ice causes damage to trees.
Why Can Ice Be So Destructive?
When freezing rain comes in contact with trees and other cold objects near the ground, it turns into ice. Water becomes heavier when it freezes. Therefore, when ice forms on tree branches, the weight can be greater than the structural integrity of the tree can handle. The stress on the branch or tree limb can cause it to break off.
Despite the damage that ice can do to trees, it is usually not a good idea to try to remove it. Not only could you cause further damage to the tree in the process, but you could put yourself in danger of injury due to falling branches or slipping on the ice. It is better to do what you can to protect your trees before the freezing weather comes and then hope for the best when an ice storm hits.
Are Some Trees More Susceptible Than Others?
Younger trees tend to be better able to withstand the effects of ice than older trees, which may be more prone to damage. Compared to deciduous trees, conifers have evolved helpful adaptations to help them resist ice damage, such as downsloping limbs and a distinctive conical shape. Coniferous trees are not immune to the effects of ice. When the sun comes out, the side of the tree facing the sun can thaw more quickly than the side facing away. This can put uneven pressure on the tree, which can cause limbs and sometimes even trunks to snap.
Native species that are appropriate to the hardiness zone typically have a better chance of surviving than trees planted for ornamental purposes that are not well suited to the climate. Even trees on the cusp of the hardiness zone may be susceptible. Furthermore, a tree that is already damaged due to other weather factors or weakened by disease may be more susceptible to ice damage.
How Does Pruning Help Ice Damage?
Ice is not the only weather factor that can cause damage to trees. Branches can be broken or destabilized due to snow or strong winds as well. Insect infestations, fungal infections, or other diseases can also weaken a tree. Regular pruning helps to remove any branches that have become diseased, damaged, or unstable. The healthy branches that remain will be more able to withstand the effects of ice.
Though regular pruning can help prevent damage to a tree from ice, it is also important to remove any branches broken during an ice storm as a matter of public safety. This is not a task you should handle on your own due to the risk of injury from broken branches or falling out of the tree due to instability.
Contact Professional Tree Service
The better option is to contact Martin’s Tree Service Inc. Whether you need preventative pruning or removal of an irreversibly damaged tree, we have the expertise to offer full tree services.