Feeling overwhelmed by winter damage to your landscape after a snowstorm is common. It can be very distressing to see your landscape looking desolate and broken. The following steps will help you create a plan for how to simply handle winter damage.
Ensure Safety First
Before handling any of the clean-up and damage prevention tasks there are a few safety issues that must be addressed:
- Ensure there are no down power lines. Down power lines can electrocute people through snow or water. This means that if you come into contact with any snow or water that is touching an electrical charge, you risk serious electrical injury.
- Check for overhead risks such as hanging branches, chunks of ice that could dislodge, and anything else that may fall on you. A hard hat is suggested. Do not work under these risks, consider hiring a professional if needed.
- Check the ground for slick spots and obstacles hidden below the snow.
- Protect yourself from cold-related injury with the proper head, hand, and body protection. Tip: dress in layers!
Step 1: Assess Damage
Once safety precautions are taken, you’ll want to take an assessment of how your landscape fared the storm. Trees and shrubs may need to be uncovered if they’re still covered in snow. Remove snow by lightly shaking branches by hand or with a simple broom. Be gentle during this process, you don’t want to cause additional damage with vigorous shaking.
Once the snow is cleared, check for snapped branches and structural damage first. This type of damage requires pruning. If the damage is present on trees, consider using a professional. Hint: Verify insurance and do not pay the full total up front. Sometimes a professional will charge a deposit, which is okay. Just don’t pay the full amount up front.
Step 2: Create an Action Plan
Severely damaged and broken branches, trees, and shrubs will require pruning at a minimum. (See above). If the damage is bad, total plant replacement may be needed. Please consider using professionals for this step. This could be an opportunity to update your garden or landscape. Leaving severely damaged material can be a hazard.
If the damage is not structural and is more the cause of piled snow warping branches or shrubs, we encourage you to wait before pruning or removing. The immediate first step is to ensure the plant is cleared of the snow. Sometimes the plant will spring back into shape over time. Sometimes it won’t.
If a plant isn’t springing back into shape, consider if selective pruning or temporary bracing could encourage things back into place. If neither pruning or bracing work, it may be time to consider replacement.
Note: Boxwoods and other evergreens are sensitive to snow being piled on top of them for extended periods of time. Remove the snow from these plants as soon as you can.
Step 3: Act
Ensure area is safe to work and use proper safety equipment and protection.
Remove snow from your plants as soon as you can.
Schedule prunings or removals for your severely damaged plants with a vetted professional.
Brace or selective prune minorly damaged plants and wait to see how they “spring” back.
Meet a professional to create a plan for the areas you had to remove damaged plants. Take this opportunity to re-imagine your garden.
Book for Spring Now!
The best companies fill their spring schedules well before spring arrives.
If you’d like the help of a professional or would like to update your landscape in spring, it’s paramount that you act now to reserve a spot on their schedule.
Many companies will book out months in advance.
If you need help with your landscape in the Kansas City area, contact us today.