Did the ice get your tree?


Maybe your favorite tree was partially affected by this week’s ice storm, and now, you’re wondering if it will survive.

It’s pretty easy to tell when a tree completely falls, there’s no saving it, but things can be more tricky if a tree is partially affected.

Whether it survives depends on how much damage was sustained from the storm, said Richard Beckort, director of Purdue Extension Jackson County.

Beckort said if half or more of the tree is affected, it’s likely lost.

“Each tree is individual, but most of the time, if 50 percent or more of the tree is broken off, a lot of times, people need to think about whether the tree is worth saving,” he said.

Beckort said if the tree does survive, it will not be the same shape as it was before, and that could affect the landscape.

He said it is universal for all trees, no matter how hardy they are.

“If it’s broken apart that much, it’s going to have trouble coming back,” he said.

What about the branches sagging from the weight of ice?

Beckort said most of those trees will not be permanently damaged by the ice. He said the time the ice is on the trees affects the amount of damage.

“It looks like most of the ice is melting quickly, and the limbs will come back up and get back into their shape,” he said.

The turnaround from when the ice first covered trees and thawed out likely limited the effect on trees.

“If that ice had been on there for several days over that, then I would have more concern about them returning to their normal state,” he said. “If it is something really bent over, it might be awhile before it comes back up.”

If branches are endangering people and structures, an arborist should be called as soon as possible, Beckort said.

“A professional needs to look at it and a tree trimmer needs to come in and get rid of the branches that are causing a hazard,” he said.

People also should keep in mind when they plant trees how close they will be to structures.

“You need to know how big the plant will get and how quick it will get to that size,” Beckort said.

He said they should consider the surroundings of the area where they plan to set a large plant or tree.

“Think down the line and think several years down the road,” he said.

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