Gardening: Keep your trees free from snow

Gardening: Keep your trees free from snow

Plants react differently to late snowfalls in the spring and early ones in the fall.

In the spring, snow and leaves on trees usually results in bent branches and broken limbs due to excess weight from the wet snow coats that leaves and branches.

In the fall, leaves are more likely to fall to the ground under the weight of the snow causing less damage to the branches.

Regardless of the season, go out and shake the excess snow off trees and shrubs when the branches start to bend. Jiggling the plant with a pole or broom works well but be careful as chances of getting hit on the head are great.

The quicker the weight is removed the faster the tree with retain its upright position. Some trucks and branches will spring back to their original position once the snow is removed, others will take longer. Staking the trees upright might seem like a good solution but research has shown that the trees recover best if left as is.

If the weight of the snow becomes too much the branches and trucks snap leaving jagged edges that will need to be removed. Making a smooth cut to another branch, the trunk or the ground will allow the plant to form calluses over the injury thus protecting the plants from insect and diseases.

Problems are most likely to occur in either multi-stemmed trees that either start at the ground or part way up the tree. The smaller the angle between the trunks the weaker the union and the more likely a branch is to split from the rest of the tree. If the damage is not too extensive, an arborist can bolt the tree trunks together but most often the damaged branch is removed.

When removing large limbs use the three cut method. First undercut the branch 6-8 inches (15 – 20 cm) from where the final cut will be. Undercutting will separate the bark and living material of the limb being removed from that of the rest of the tree insuring the remaining bark will not be ripped as the heavy limb falls to the ground.

Next, cut the limb from the top down close to the undercut, in the direction of the tip of the branch. Once the majority of the branch is removed, make the final cut close to another branch or trunk making sure not to damage the collar.

Do not worry about using sealant or pruning paint on the cuts as it does not form a protective coat over the cut prevent insects or diseases from entering the tree.

When removing damaged branches from shrubs cut back to another branch or the ground. Removing stems from a shrub is often used to rejuvenate plant as it will send up new growth from the roots that will fill in areas where damaged wood has been removed.

Trees and shrubs that have lost over 1/4 of their top growth will send out a multitude of new growth in the form of watersprouts and suckers next growing season. To avoid the problem, try not to remove more of the plant at one time. if the plant was received extensive damage next growing season remove some of the suckers or water sprouts as they appear. If the plant had to be cut back entirely, prune back the waterprouts or suckers where needed to make a well shaped plant.

Trees are replaceable. If the tree is not going to be healthy or pleasing to the eye when all the damage is removed, it is best to remove the whole tree. Before making that decision understand that cutting the top off of a tree that is prone to suckering will trigger the trees survival mechanism which means that a multitude of suckers will appear. Killing the tree before cutting it down will stop the suckering.

Often the worst part of tree removal is dealing with the stump. Stump remover will work over time but a faster method is to hire a company to bring in machinery to grind down the stump to below the soil level.

Mature trees and shrubs are impossible or expensive to replace, Is in doubt hire an expert for advice or to do the work.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives by Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta adds 463 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

The central zone has 818 active cases

Red Deer teacher Janelle Van Tetering had her students write letters to attach to Blankets of Hope, which will be donated to the Mustard Seed. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer teacher, students donate ‘Blankets of Hope’ to those in need

A Red Deer teacher and her students are giving warm blankets and… Continue reading

RCMP have charged a Sylvan Lake man for allegedly defrauding five people of more than $100,000.
Advocate file photo
20-year-old woman killed in collision: Blackfalds RCMP

A 20-year-old woman was killed in a collision on Saturday, says Blackfalds… Continue reading

Patrick Malkin, co-owner of The Granary Kitchen, says he wants the provincial government to lift COVID-19 restrictions that shutdown in-person dining. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer restaurant owner ‘frustrated’ in-person dining restrictions are still in place

Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the restrictions won’t yet be eased this past Thursday

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Toronto Maple Leafs' Alexander Kerfoot, centre, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, right, as Noah Hanifin looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Morgan Reilly’s three assists lifts Maple Leafs to 3-2 win over Flames

Leafs 3 Flames 2 CALGARY — Morgan Reilly’s three assists helped the… Continue reading

Green Bay Packers' Adrian Amos (31) reacts after intercepting a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Evans during the second half of the NFC championship NFL football game in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Road warriors: Bucs win 31-26 at Green Bay, reach Super Bowl

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road… Continue reading

People arrive to be tested for COVID-19 at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, January 24, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Too soon to know if Canada’s COVID-19 case decline will continue, Tam says

MONTREAL — It’s still too soon to know whether the recent downward… Continue reading

Flowers are seen at the front door of Dr. Denis Vincent's dental practice in North Vancouver, B.C. on March 31, 2020, after he died of COVID-19. The British Columbia Dental Association has written a letter to Premier John Horgan urging him to include dentists in a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dentists, teachers disappointed they won’t be prioritized for vaccine in B.C.

VANCOUVER — Dentists and teachers are among the groups that are disappointed… Continue reading

Indiana Pacers guard Justin Holiday (8) shoots over Toronto Raptors forward DeAndre' Bembry (95) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Anunoby’s hot hand helps short-handed Raptors beat Pacers

Raptors 107 Pacers 102 INDIANAPOLIS — OG Anunoby scored a season-high 30… Continue reading

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

OTTAWA — Under fluorescent lights, Wendy Muckle surveys the supervised consumption site… Continue reading

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) headquarters Connaught Building is pictured in Ottawa on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Taxpayers’ watchdog sees complaints spike, raising worries about pandemic tax season

OTTAWA — Canada’s taxpayers’ ombudsperson says his office has seen a steep… Continue reading

Most Read