By: Mary Small, CSU Extension, Jefferson County
Ouch! Our spring snowstorms have wreaked havoc on our trees and shrubs. Poor things, they have such a challenge growing in our climate to begin with, and then this: two snow events that snapped off branches and damaged some trees beyond repair. My colleagues and I have been inundated with questions about how to handle these issues.
|Cut back to branch collar|
The quick answer is it depends on the damage and the health of the tree. In this first photo, the branch should be removed back to the branch collar –which is the trunk in this case. Don’t just cut off the broken and split branch and leave a stub! Removing branches may make the tree look a bit bare (and maybe even odd!), but eventually the new leaves and branches will mask the damage.
The pine tree was essentially tipped over and pulled out of the ground from the weight of snow on its branches, resulting in a lot of root breakage. It’s best to remove this tree.
Some trees lost their leader. Tree owners can just let nature take its course; the tree will develop a new leader from a side branch nearest the injury. They can also attach a stake to the top of the main stem and select a branch to take over as leader. The branch is bent upward (don't crack or break it!) and tied to the stake.
|Honeysuckle - in the gardenradio.com|
In cases like this honeysuckle, where the branch broke off, the best course of action is to make the edges of the wound neat and clean, using a knife to remove and smooth the jagged edges.
|1st place for most creative "fix"!|
I found this very creative (although ineffective) broken branch treatment in my neighborhood. I’ll watch it over the next year or two and report back on its progress – or lack thereof!