Landscape Logic: Prevent snow damage by taking care of trees now |

Landscape Logic: Prevent snow damage by taking care of trees now

Becky Garber
Landscape Logic
Vail, CO, Colorado

While we’re wearing T-shirts and sandals, snowy days seem a long time away.

But if last year’s history were to repeat itself, we’d be exactly two months away from a devastating snow storm!

The last week in October 2011 brought a wet, heavy snow that broke many trees along the Front Range. Because leaves had not yet fallen, snow clung to them, weighing down the branches and snap – many branches hit the ground.

Such a storm could be even more devastating this year because the lack of moisture has left many trees with branches that are brittle. Those brittle branches are not going to bend and give under snow loads. They’re going to break. And that’s very bad for the tree.

When branches break from snow overload, there’s no clean cut like you get with a pruning saw. Breaking limbs often rip and tear along their length and leave part of a branch still dangling in the tree. These hanging branches are not only a hazard, but the ripped areas will be an open invitation to insects and disease.

Which brings us back to T-shirt and sandal season. While nice weather prevails, it’s a fine time to make sure that your trees are properly pruned before the snow flies. Here’s the short checklist:

• Thin the crown of trees before winter to help prevent snow overload and breakage.

• Check for branches with horizontal cracks from last winter’s storms that may not have been noticed.

• If broken ends of branches from last season’s storms were never cut and repaired, do that now.

Trees are often the most expensive part of a landscape and over time, they go up in value. That’s why it is important to hire a professional, qualified company to protect your investment.

Tree work can be dangerous and requires special equipment and trained or certified technicians. Keep these tips in mind when hiring a tree service company

• Make sure the company has adequate insurance and document it by getting a proof of insurance.

• Find out if certified technicians will be doing the work.

• Since many municipalities require arborists to be licensed by the city, make sure the company you hire holds the required license where you live.

Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.

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