CO-Horts Blog

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Knock it Off: Preventing Snow Damage to Trees

Posted by: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County

Mark your calendars, folks! It's Mother's Day, May 11, and the snow is coming down fast and furious. By the time it's all said and done, up to 9-12" of wet, heavy snow (yea moisture!) is expected, but for our woody plants that have leafed out, this means bad news and possible damage.

So take precaution now and go and gently knock the snow off the trees and shrubs (and perennials) that have been coated. The leaves capture a lot more snow per surface area than branches, and this is what makes branches droop and break. Evergreens also need attention.

Shaking off the snow is one of the best things you can do to prevent damage...and you may have to repeat this a few times until the snow stops. But be gentle--don't vigorously shake, just do some light taps or brushing.

The mighty broom handle!
The "weepy" star magnolia outside the hort building.
Tap, tap, tap.
Free from snow and ice (the blue spruce is another project).
By the way, the turf specialist said your lawn is fine.


  1. We only got about 0.5" sticking on the branches. Should we leave it as insulation against the cold tonight?

  2. The turf absolutely loved this storm. The snow won't be around long enough to cause snow mold in lawns. Golf courses could be another story; pink snow mold can be a problem in wet, snowy, cloudy, cool weather.

  3. Agreed Tony! Much needed moisture after a very dry April. I am hoping the recent moisture will help keep down the mite populations We were seeing significant damage in some lawns prior to the rain and snow.

  4. Hi Noladq: My guess is the snow/ice will melt (since our high today is the low 40s) before the cold settles in tonight. It's a good thought, but not sure it's possible to keep it from melting. The perennials and shrubs on the ground may benefit from the added insulation if the snow sticks around....