Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Repairing Ice Damage on Trees and Shrubs

UGA Urban Ag photo
Ice damaged, split or bent trees and shrubs often can be saved. Both Patience and Training are required.

First, wait until the ice melts and the branches begin to recover by themselves before evaluating the damage. Do not waltz outside with a chainsaw because safety is a big issue, and limbs under tension may snap back. Smaller branches can sometimes be cleaned up with loppers.

Ask your Crabapple LandscapEXPERTS Rep for an evaluation to see how we can help the landscape you manage.

1. If the ice load has yanked the root ball out of the ground and toppled the tree we will:

  • trim roots
  • excavate hole
  • rock back in place
  • use three equally placed stakes to secure it upright 
  • water as though it was a new planting

Ice coating twig,
photo by Liz Castro
2. If the tree or shrub has suffered broken limbs or splitting we will:
  • decide if it must be taken out entirely (think, "fire wood")
  • consider the shape of the tree or shrub AFTER pruning before making the first cut
  • clean wounds by cutting smoothly back to the trunk
  • don't expect "wound paint" which research has shown does not aid healing
Digging Deeper: 

University of Georgia Advice on Ice Damage

UGA Urban Ag Advice on Ice Damaged Trees

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