Heavy snow could spell trouble for the trees

  • Oct. 11, 2017 9:22 p.m.

The combination of wet 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.

To prevent damage, go out and shake the excess snow off the tree before it accumulates. Chances of getting hit on the head are great so protect yourself.

Strong trunks will bend and hang downwards. 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.

When the weight of the snow becomes too much the branches and trucks snap. Regardless if the branch broke part or all the way, chances are that it needs to be removed. Do not leave a jagged end or stump on the tree as it will not heal properly. Instead cut back to a healthy branch or the trunk. In the case of shrubs it might be cut back to the ground.

Problems occur when a main trunk splits into a number of different trunks forming a multi-stemmed tree. The smaller the angle between the trunks the weaker the join 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 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 seal the cut to prevent insects or diseases from entering the tree.

When removing damaged branches from shrubs cut back to another branch or the ground. Shrubs 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 1/3 of their top growth will send out a multitude of new growth in the form of watersprouts and suckers next growing season. Remove suckers as they appear, unless the roots are the only part of the tree that survived. In that case, prune back the watersprouts 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 remove stumps by grinding them.

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

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives close to Rocky Mountain House. She can be contacted at your_garden@hotmail.com.

Just Posted

Red Deer County backs Canadian Finals Rodeo

Council approved $50,000 for the event’s inaugural event in Red Deer

Red Deer County receives third budget award

Award from the Government Finance Officers Association

Dance auditions held for 2019 Canada Winter Games

The 2019 Canada Winter Games committee is holding auditions for volunteers between… Continue reading

Red Deer convenience store robbed at gunpoint

Police still searching for suspect who robbed 7-Eleven at 40th Avenue and 38th Street

UPDATED: Stretching for a good cause at Central Alberta Yogathon in Red Deer

Funds raised go to Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre

Halifax researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada for first time

HALIFAX — For the first time in Atlantic Canadian waters, scientists have… Continue reading

Liberal riding association president blindsided by MP’s defection

OTTAWA — The president of an Ontario Liberal riding association says he… Continue reading

Pope gives bishops more decision-making options

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis decreed on Tuesday that ordinary Catholics should… Continue reading

Hurricane rating system fails to account for deadly rain

TRENTON, N.C. — When meteorologists downgraded Hurricane Florence from a powerful Category… Continue reading

Glad company: Trailer for Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

LOS ANGELES — A beloved nanny is preparing to take to the… Continue reading

Jeremy Dutcher wins Polaris prize for ‘Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa’

TORONTO — Jeremy Dutcher has won the 2018 Polaris Music Prize for… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports manufacturing sales rose 0.9 per cent in July

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales increased 0.9 per cent in… Continue reading

China raises tariffs on $60B of US goods in technology fight

BEIJING — China on Tuesday announced a tariff hike on $60 billion… Continue reading

Most Read