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Snow Damage and Trees – Now What?

Posted: November 1, 2011

If the recent storm caused damage to your trees, the following information may helpful
A maple tree crushed from the weight of the recent snow

A maple tree crushed from the weight of the recent snow

The recent snow storm wreaked havoc on many trees in the landscape. Silver Maple is just one example of tree species severely damaged by the early snow. They are naturally more susceptible to snow damage than others. The quantity of leaves still attached to the tree, greatly increased the surface area, allowing more snow to accumulate therefore adding more weight to the limbs. This combination resulted in an unusually high number of limbs and trees to break causing damage to power lines, vehicles, and structures If the recent storm caused damage to your trees, the scenarios listed below may be of some assistance.

Wondering if you should keep or cut down your tree? This publication focuses on ice damage, but is very useful in the event of a heavy snowfall. It will visually assist you in making that tough decision.

If a branch or limb has been completely broken off the tree by snow, leaving a stub could cause problems in the future. Here is a good resource on how to properly prune stubs.

If the recent snow storm requires the removal of a tree, before replacing with the same species, you may want to reference the following publication that rates tree species and their susceptibility to storm damage.

Pruning or removing large trees should be left to trained professionals. It may be best to contact a certified arborist to have the work completed. The following are a few guidelines to adhere to when choosing an arborist:

  • Ask for evidence showing the company has insurance for workers compensation and personal and property damage.
  • After a storm, many arborists are inundated with so many calls it can be tough to keep up with demand. Be patient and expect to wait until they can offer a quote or perform the work
  • Most professional companies do not go door-to -door offering tree work. Pruning and removing trees is serious work, be cautious of anyone with a truck and chainsaw. Most tree care companies obtain certifications which indicate they complete a predetermined amount of continuing education credits. Requesting a company to provide this information may be useful to determine the most qualified company. One of the most widely known certification in the tree care industry is to become certified by the International Association of Arboriculture often referred to as “ISA Certified.”

For more information regarding pruning, contact the York Extension office at 717-840-7408.