Trees, plants to feel the brunt of impending winter storm
RAPID CITY, S.D. – It’s the second week of October and snow will soon be among us. While we may be able to prepare ourselves for the storm, trees and plants might not.
Dr. John Ball, South Dakota State University Forestry Specialist, says with storms this early in the season, a lot of trees still have leaves allowing ice to build up. Should ice form before snow falls, the combination proves heaviest for tree branches.
Any trees that have been poorly pruned or not pruned at all, will see the most breakage. While you may want to help your trees by getting the snow off, Dr. Ball says that isn’t wise.
“If you end up with a lot of snow on the branches or a lot of ice on the branches, do not go out and try to knock it off,” said Dr. Ball. “It makes more damage and not less and don’t try to spray water on it to knock it off. You’re just going to add to the problem.”
Ball says more branches can break in the process of trying to remove snow and ice than the frozen precipitation would cause on its own. He recommends that you gently tap the tree or plant to remove snow and ice.
Pruning is still recommended at this time of the year, preferably before the storm moves in. For fruit trees, Dr. Ball says you can prop branches up with planks of wood to give them support against the snow.