Trees and shrubs bear the brunt of heavy snowfalls and deep freezes, which can mean a lot of broken and damaged branches come spring. Unfortunately, you might not be able to save plants with more than a third of their branches lost. But with time and care, damaged trees and shrubs often return to a healthy state.
- Wait until the end of winter to assess damage, and don't start pruning until early spring when temperatures are consistently warmer.
- Make clean cuts to remove broken tree or shrub branches. Try not to cut bent branches right away - they might bounce back in place as the season progresses.
- Cuts should be made at the branch collar (where the branch grows out of the trunk or parent branch).
- For more extensive damage, call an arborist; don't risk harm or property damage by taking on difficult pruning tasks!
- After pruning, sprinkle fertilizer around the roots to promote growth.
- Keep checking for new growth on shrubs and trees in early spring to see if all your plants have survived. If you don't notice new growth by mid-season, it's best to replace the plant.
Ready to get out the pruners? Find more quick tips on pruning plants