Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: To Knock it off or not?
Should I knock it off or not? That is the question some folks in the northland ask when faced with snow and ice covering their conifers and other shrubs and trees. When our timbers are shivering, our first instinct is to knock that stuff off, set the branches free, however, you might do more harm than good. And put your own safety at risk.
Always proceed with caution as you head out after a wintry mix. The ice that can encapsulate those branches is beautiful but is it harmful? Depends… is it harmful to YOU, who might be trying to knock it off and instead, knock yourself out with a brittle branch OR is it harmful to the tree? Some light ice is not a problem but heavy ice and snow weighing down branches could be. Never mess with a tree where there are downed wires, don’t walk underneath heavily laden branches.
Shaking or beating the tree can cause breakage, damage the tree’s vascular system and injure needles and buds beyond what the ice damage may do. Let the ice melt, then prune out broken branches. If they’re just bent, leave them be. There’s also prevention. Wrpa small trees and shrubs that have multiple stems with twine, strips of cloth or nylon to hold them upright.
An excellent video from my friend Glenn Switzer of Switzer’s Nursery & Landscaping – Landscaper Know How: Removing snow from trees and shrubs: