The heavy snows from Thursday night are resulting in many trees having large portions of their canopies bending and sometimes breaking. The problem is common with deciduous trees that have not yet loss their leaves so the canopies are able to hold large amounts of snow. Spruce, because of their numerous small twigs and needles also are holding snow. The wet snow is heavy enough that branches are bending under the weight and some are beginning to break. While a common reaction is to attempt to knock the snow off these branches, the force of striking these snow laden branches may be enough to cause them to break. If the tree is small, short enough that the tops can be reached from the ground, it may be possible to gently sweep the some of the snow off with a broom, but unless done very carefully even this action can result broken branches. Some people are trying to knock snow off their taller trees by spraying water but this will only result in more damage when the water freezes and become ice. The best solution may be to wait until warmer temperatures return and the allow the snow to melt. Many trees will return to their normal shape once the snow melts away. Any broken branches can be properly pruned back at that time.
For more information, contact John Ball.