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Trees and Snow – Preparing for and Preventing Winter Tree Damage

The University of Missouri Extension Center recently posted the following picture of persimmon seeds that are legendary for predicting winter weather. When the seeds are split in half, you can easily see the outline of spoons, predicting lots of snow this winter.


Whether the prediction of the persimmon seeds is truly reliable or not, there are some ways we can prepare our trees for the possible snow and inclement weather that can show up in Missouri’s winters.

While walking amongst snow-covered trees can be awe-strikingly beautiful, it can quickly become cringe-worthy when we hear loud “cracks” from limbs breaking under the weight of ice and snow accumulation.

A light covering of snow is not likely to cause any harm. A thick covering of heavy, wet snow, however, can be destructive to your trees. This weight can break branches, deform and bend trees, and even completely uproot plants.

Please be gentle if you decide to brush off snow, using just a soft broom. Heavier and harder objects can be more damaging to the branches than the snow itself.

Preventing Snow Damage

The best protection for our trees is prevention. We can’t always bypass the damage from heavy snow and ice accumulation. The historic Springfield ice storm in 2007 taught us how much damage is possible in such conditions. However, much damage can be prevented with a little maintenance pruning of your trees to remove dead limbs and encourage stronger structure.

Mulch rings are also a great idea to help buffer the extremely cold temperatures from your tree’s roots. The wood chips also help retain moisture in your soil. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your trees don’t need water! One great thing about snow is it gives your trees much needed water over an extended period as it melts away.

Give your arborist a call to talk about how we can help protect your trees from the upcoming winter. If damage does occur to your trees, don’t fret. Most trees are generally pretty resilient, and we can clean cut any wounds that may occur to help the tree seal over the damage.