Managing Snow and Ice Loads on Trees and Shrubs


Winter storms producing wet, heavy snow and ice can significantly damage trees and shrubs. Healthy, well-managed trees and shrubs are resilient, but some careful action by the homeowner can minimize the potential for damage.


  • Tools
    • Long-handled broom or garden tool
    • Lopping shears
    • Pruning saw
  • Method
    • Starting with branches no higher than you can reach, use gentle, upward strokes to remove the snow from the branch(es) with the broom or your hand.
    • Alternately, use the handle of the broom or garden tool to gently lift the branch from underneath to dislodge the snow.
    • Do not shake the branch; tree and shrub branches are brittle in winter and can easily break or split.
    • Do not attempt to remove ice – allow it to melt off.
    • Do not use a ladder to extend your reach.
    • If branches are broken or damaged already, prune only those branches required to remove immediate safety hazards; to minimize further winter damage, complete any repair pruning in late winter just before the growing season.
    • Consult an arborist or tree service to prune branches higher than you can reach and fallen limbs on cars, houses, and electrical wires.


Snow loading on trees
Snow loading on trees
Snow loading on trees
Snow loading on trees