Your Trusted Tree Service Explains What to Do if Your Trees Are Covered in Ice


May 21, 2021

Winter may be the time of year when the greater Denver area sees the most snow, but it’s not the time that we see the most ice. Surprise ice storms can happen well into early summer depending on weather conditions. And when they do, your trees will suffer the consequences. Though it’s tempting to rush outside and try to defrost or clear ice as quickly as you can, it’s not always the best thing to do for your trees and shrubs. Here are a few things your tree company wants you to do to give your yard the TLC it needs to recover after an ice storm quickly. 

Assess the Damage

The first thing you should do after an ice storm is inspect your yard for damage. But you need to do so in a controlled way. Wait until the weather clears and bundle up appropriately. If the walkways are icy, wear ice grippers on the bottoms of your boots or spread ice melt and let it do its job before you start checking the rest of the yard.

Once you’re able to get outside, look at the trees closest to your property line first. If you notice broken limbs threatening another homeowner’s property, you’ll need to prioritize those damaged trees first. If they’re clear and relatively undamaged, turn your attention to the rest of the yard.

Make a note of trees with broken or cracked limbs and make a plan to watch trees with drooping limbs for damage after the ice melts. These are the main areas of concern. It’s likely that the sagging limbs will have cracked portions that will need removal in the future.

Call Public Works if Needed

Ice storms often come with high winds and those winds can send limbs or entire trees crashing down. If the trees are blocking the street or alley or have come down on top of a power line, don’t try to remove them yourself. Instead, call the city’s Public Works department and let them know what’s going on. 

Their team is trained in the safe removal of debris and can help you clear away the damage. Remember, trimming ice-covered branches isn’t easy and it’s likely that you’ll slip and hurt yourself in the process. Instead of chancing it on your own, leave it to the pros.

Pick up Fallen Debris and Clear the Yard

Even minor ice storms will leave a trail of debris in their wake. As long as your trees are in relatively good shape and don’t have any sagging or broken limbs hanging from them, you’re free to pick up the yard. Walk carefully and remove any downed branches that you can haul away on your own. 

Let them defrost in a sunny spot of the yard before you try to break them down further. This way, the wood will be more manageable, and you’ll be better able to fit the debris in a heavy-duty trash bag. Once the debris is bagged, call your waste removal company and find out when they’ll be picking up debris. Most have dedicated dates for plant matter throughout the month, but they’ll typically be expanded after a storm.

Let the Ice Melt on Its own

If you’re like most homeowners, your first thought after an ice storm is getting the ice off of your plants and trees. You may be tempted to try melting the ice with a hair dryer or to spray the ice-covered plants with warm water. 

Though it’s tempting to try and shake ice loose or melt it faster, don’t. It’s always best to let the ice melt on its own. 

Trying to speed up the melting process can shock the tree or, worse, cause serious damage to the limbs you’re trying to protect. Believe it or not, the ice will melt and the tree will typically be able to recover on its own as long as you give it time.

Your tree service can inspect your trees for damage throughout the year and let you know if the storm did anything serious to the limbs. If they notice any damage, they’ll be able to prune the tree so it can recover and grow as normal. 

Schedule a Tree Trimming Appointment

After every major ice storm, you’ll likely notice some of your trees drooping more than others under the weight of the ice. This is normal, but it’s also a surefire sign that your trees need some TLC. The best thing you can do is schedule a tree trimming appointment as soon as possible.

During this appointment, your tree care company will inspect the trees for damage. Then, they’ll clear away the excess growth that’s putting strain on the limbs. Once they’re done, your trees will be better equipped to handle those surprise storms without suffering serious damage.

Plan for Future Ice Storms the Right Way

Preventative measures go a long way toward keeping your landscaping in good shape even when ice storms pop up. Keep an eye on the forecast and do what you can to protect the more fragile plants in your yard before the storms hit.

Wrap young trees and shrubs in protective blankets or tarps. This will keep the ice from forming on their branches before they’re strong enough to withstand the weight. Stay on top of preventative pruning for your more mature trees throughout the year and make sure to remove low-hanging limbs before they have a chance to break and damage your property.

Be Prepared for Whatever the Denver Weather Brings

Your trees can be resilient. They just need a little TLC to be able to withstand the unexpected ice storms Denver gets. The best thing you can do is schedule routine tree trimming and inspection appointments with your trusted tree service throughout the year.

At Bear Creek Tree Service, we’re intimately familiar with the whacky weather common in the Denver area. Let our experts help you keep your trees looking great year-round, no matter what the weather throws their way. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get your trees ready.
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