Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)
U of I Extension Horticultural educator, Ryan Panku, shares details on how winter storm damage affects trees and how to prevent and deal with it once it may happens.
• HOW COMMON ARE ICE STORMS IN CENTRAL IL?
o On average, central Illinois experiences an average of 5 days of freezing rain per winter season
o Ice accumulation on tree limbs can cause major damage, especially when accumulation exceeds ¼ inch, which is classified as an ice storm.
• HOW ARE TREES AFFECTED?
o In general, evergreen plants are more susceptible to ice damage due to the large amount of surface area created by the leaves (or needles) they retain in winter
o Ice damage can be immediate, in the form of broken and fallen branches or it can create problems down the road from internal cracks that can later cause branch failure
o It is really important to have damaged limbs removed in order to prevent future issues
Event branch stubs or parts of limbs that are still attached but damaged are important to remove or they can introduce rot into the trunk of your tree
• WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOUR TREES FROM ICE STORMS?
o Preventative pruning is the best way to protect your trees
o A Certified Arborist is trained to identifying structurally weak limbs and reinforce those limbs either through corrective pruning or cabling and bracing.
o The International Society of Arboriculture maintains an online list of Certified Arborists accessible at treesaregood.org. It is searchable by geographic location
o Keeping trees healthy is another way to boost their resiliency, Certified Arborists may have a number of other suggestions for boosting tree health.
When winter weather conditions align to accumulate ice on outside surfaces, trees and shrubs can have major damage.
It is important to remove branch stubs from damaged limbs.