Central Texas ice storms are hard on our trees. If you know an ice storm is coming, here are some things you can do to help your trees survive.
Note: Try not to use salt around your trees. If you have to use salt near a tree, sweep it up, or wash it away with a hose as soon as possible.
Helping New Trees Survive an Ice Storm
Young trees: cover the entire tree with a blanket or frost cover.
Larger new trees: wrap a blanket or frost cover around the trunk to protect it.
If a young tree is close to your house, consider pointing a fan with a heater towards the tree to help warm it.
Helping Mature Trees Survive An Ice Storm
For larger trees, you want to focus on things you can safely do from the ground. Look for snow or ice build-up on large branches, and things you can safely do to help the tree survive the extra weight.
- Use a broom to knock excessive snow off of low branches. (Stand off to the side.)
- If a tree is weighed down with ice or snow, use a plank or board to help prop up the larger branches.
- If the tree is leaning, try to prop it up or give it some support with a 2 x 4 board. And clear the path underneath it in case it falls.
- If a larger tree seems to be splitting apart, you can use a belt or straps and try to tie the two pieces together to help the tree in the short term.
If a Tree or Large Branch Falls During an Ice Storm
- Fallen branch blocking a driveway or road: call 311 to report it.
- Cracked or fallen branch on a utility line: call Austin Energy (512-494-9400) or your local utility company.
- Broken or dangling branch on your property: stay away from it. Contact an arborist to safely remove it. If you have an orange safety cone, place it under the broken branch to warn other people.
Tree Safety During an Ice Storm
- Do not go near a tree that is in contact with the utility lines
- Do not stand under a snow or ice-loaded tree, even with a hardhat!
- Do not stand underneath a snowy branch and shake it. Stand off the the side and gently tap the snow or ice off with a broom.
Checking Your Trees After an Ice Storm
Trees store water in their trunks, especially after a rainy period. During an ice storm, the water in the tree trunks will freeze. There’s a chance you will see frost cracks going up the bark of your trees a few weeks later.
Once everything melts, visually inspect your trees. If you think you see ice cracks, call A Good Morning Tree Service out to inspect it for you.
- Cracks in oak trees should be sealed as soon as possible, to prevent oak wilt.
- Loose bark should be removed so bugs do not bore into the tree.
- Dead branches should be removed.
- Fertilizer treatments will help the bark seal off the wounds, and heal more quickly.
A Good Morning Tree Service in the News
GMTS arborists were interviewed for a KXAN news story during the February 2022 Central Texas ice storm.
by Jennifer Sanders
Posted: Feb 4, 2022