How Trees Weather The Snow And Ice

Andy Dahn
November 28, 2018 - 6:00 am

Gaith Shalan |


(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- This week's snowstorm has led to plenty of problems throughout the Chicago area, and experts say trees and shrubs were not immune.

Julie Janoski is Plant Clinic Manager at the Morton Arboretum. She told WBBM healthy branches can hold several times their own weight, so the snow isn't necessarily the root of the problem.

"The combination that we had, the wind and the heavy ice and snow, can be especially damaging," Janoski. "I think we certainly saw that during this storm in particular.”

For those looking to protect their plants, Janoski said proactive steps are your best bet.

"If you have a small evergreen that's prone to a lot of damage, wrap the branches together in the fall and hold them together,” she said.

But if it's too late and your trees are swamped with snow and ice, she said it's best to let nature take its course.

"Trying to remove ice or snow from the branches can cause additional damage," Janoski said. "We've got that layer of ice underneath the snow right now, and that's the heavy part."

Janoski added that officials at the arboretum are conducting research on how ice builds up on branches during storms in hopes of better identifying which branch patterns are most at risk.