Q. During last week’s warm spell I waded through the snow to brush off several evergreens we’ve planted over the past couple of years. Despite trying to be very careful, a number of branches split as I was removing the snow. Should I try to somehow wrap them or pull them together with wire? Two of the trees, which are about head high, are going to look absolutely horrible if we have to cut the damaged branches off.
A. To best answer your question, it would be helpful to know what kind of evergreen trees were damaged (e.g., spruce, pine, fir, etc.). However, my general response is that the best thing you can do for the next couple of months may be nothing at all?
Unless branches are practically broken off the tree, I suggest waiting until new growth begins to appear in May and early June. Then you’ll be able to get a better sense of how the trees are responding to the damage during the growing season.
It may be that some of the split branches will put on new growth and may even recover some of their original form with the onset of warm weather? Of course, there may be other branches that will obviously be dead, and will have to be removed.
The good news is that because your evergreens are still relatively young, there’s a good chance that they can gradually grow out of the damage. And, depending on the type of evergreen, even if you have to remove a fair number of dead branches later this spring, you may not even notice their loss a few years from now?
The lesson to be learned from this experience is that the only time you want to knock snow off of plants is as it’s falling. Otherwise, it’s often best to simply let nature take care of itself – just like out in the forest.
And, if you have plants that are damaged by heavy snow or ice every year, I’d say that it’s the result of planting the wrong plant in the wrong place and that you should consider moving, or replacing them?