The east end is still in the grip of one of the heaviest snowfall winters in recent years. Built up snow and ice can damage your trees and ornamentals in a number of ways, primarily through “snow loading” where the accumulated snow weighs down branches and leaders and causes splitting and cracking. This is particularly true of small multi-branched evergreens such as boxwoods, andromedas, arborvitae, cypresses, hollies, yews and other such plants.
Another problem in extreme cold spells is frost-cracking of bark, caused by a temperature differential between bark warmed by the sun on southern exposures and extreme cold air. Thin barked trees such as beeches are particularly vulnerable.
Despite our fears of a prolonged, extremely cold winter, scientists now know that a frost in late spring or early summer is far more damaging than a period of extreme freezing temperatures while trees are in their dormant state. Preparing for extreme cold in the fall is the best bet: mulching, irrigating, pruning out deawood and crossing limbs, and ferrtilizing. Once the trees are dormant ad a polar freeze has set in, there is little that can be done. Autumn weather actually prepares trees for winter. Once the weather warms up and trees lose their cold tolerance, a period of freezing weather can be far more harmful.
Snow cover on the ground actually helps act as an insulation against sub-zero temperatures and protects root systems. The problem comes when snow melts constantly and re-freezes, causing a sheet of ice to blanket the ground. Even more dangerous is when ice accumulates on tree limbs and shrubs, causing breakage.
At Fox Tree, we send crews out to knock heavy snow accumulations off of evergreens and ornamentals at customers’ properties if they request our winter protection package. If you’re interested, call our off ic etoday at (631) 698-2929 and we can sign you up