Alberta trees covered in ice from a storm

How to Identify Snow Damage in Trees

We typically think of winter as a time when nature, for the most part, goes to sleep. The trees lose their leaves, animals stay in the shelter they’ve been building all summer, and the birds decide to head to warmer temperatures. Just because things in nature have slowed down, though, doesn’t mean they’ve stopped.

There are still a lot of threats to your trees in winter, one of which is snow or ice damage. At All Season Tree Service in Edmonton, we’d like to let you know a little bit about what snow damage is, how to identify it, and what to do about it.


What is snow damage?
Snow damage is pretty much what it sounds like. Throughout the winter, your trees are subject to high winds, cold temperatures, and the expanding and contracting of water as it freezes and unfreezes. These are typical parts of a Canadian winter. One of the biggest threats to trees is actually the weight of all the snow that accumulates on them over the winter—particularly for younger trees. Snow can be so heavy, in fact, that branches break and whole trees bend, sometimes causing irreparable damage that even an arborist from Edmonton won’t be able to fix.

How do I know how bad the damage is?
Fully developed trees that are native to Alberta are pretty tough and can handle most of what the weather throws at them. That being said, it’s best to keep an eye out for these symptoms to determine if your tree might need care from an arborist.

Young trees, whose bark has not yet hardened to fully protect them, are the most vulnerable to the winter. If your young tree’s bark is still smooth to the touch and it’s in an exposed area, you should probably buy a paper or plastic covering for it. If snow does accumulate on these young trees, check to make sure they’re not bending. If they’ve bent anywhere from twenty to sixty degrees toward the ground, they can probably be saved by an arborist in Edmonton. More than sixty degrees of bending, however, might mean you’ll be planting a new tree.

Older and tougher trees will be more able to withstand the weight of snow. If, however, more than three quarters of your tree’s branches have been broken off due to snow and wind, it might be in trouble.

Who can help with a damaged tree?
At All Season Tree Service in Edmonton, we’re here all winter to help you protect your trees. Should any of your trees get damaged beyond help, consider replacing it with a different species, both to increase diversity and to avoid the heartbreak of heaving the tree destroyed in a storm.

Some options for new trees include:

• Paperbark maple (Acer griseum)
• Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)
• Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana)
• Corneliancherry dogwood (Cornus mas)
• ‘Winter King’ hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’)
• A disease-resistant crabapple (Malus spp.) such as ‘Adams, ‘David,’ ‘Dolgo’ or ‘Jewelberry’

If you’d like to know more about protecting your trees during the winter or have any other tree service needs in Edmonton, St Albert and Sherwood Park areas, contact us today. For emergency tree services, please phone us at 780-464-2436.

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