Preparing Landscapes for Snow and Ice

— Written By
Leyland cypress covered in snow

Evergreens are more likely to break or split under heavy snow loads.

During the next 24 hours central NC will experience snow accumulations that could damage trees and shrubs. Some of this damage may be prevented but for many plants damage will be something to deal with after the snow melts. Visit the following links for tips and resources on preparing your landscape and helping it recover from the coming storm.

Prepare Your Landscape for Snow shares tips on:

  • Tying up evergreens to prevent breakage and splaying
  • Preventing damage to landscape plants when using de-icing salts
  • Pruning for structural strength and durability
  • Click here to learn more!

Helping Trees and Shrubs Recover from Snow and Ice shares tips on:

  • Pruning trees and shrubs damaged by ice
  • The likelihood a tree damaged by ice will recover
  • Removing snow from shrubs
  • When to hire an arborist
  • Click here to learn more!

Additional Pruning Advice

I’m not recommending you rush out to cut back all your trees and shrubs – far from it. But keep in mind a few judicial, well-placed cuts when a tree is young can make the difference between a few broken limbs and complete collapse later in life when the tree is weighed down under a load of snow.

There’s a lot you need to know to do a good pruning job, including when and where to cut, what type of tools to use, and how much to remove. Experts with Cooperative Extension at NC State have developed a series of guides to help you do the job right. Each guide in the four part series explains and illustrates a different aspect of pruning ornamental trees and shrubs correctly. All four are available online:

More tips on dealing with storm damaged trees are available on NC State Extension’s Gardening Portal.

Use Extension Search to find research based information from Cooperative Extension systems across the U.S.

Visit your local Cooperative Extension center to learn more about gardening and landscape care. Find your county Extension center or post your questions to be answered online via Extension’s ‘Ask an Expert’ widget.

Subscribe to the Chatham Gardener email list to receive timely updates on sustainable lawn, garden, and landscape care for the central NC Piedmont. To subscribe: