Jack Frost did a number on a lot of folks this weekend. Most of Missouri is without power due to the iced-over trees downing power lines with limbs that just couldn’t bear the strain. Broken limbs should be pruned as soon as possible. Limbs that are an inch or less in diameter can be cleanly cut with pruning shears or loppers like this 17″ pair from Felco. For larger limbs, snip or cut parts of the damaged sections farthest away from the tree or bush first to take some of the weight off of the final cut.
Remember: Pruning big limbs, high branches, and leaning trees is not for the amateur — it’s for trained tree trimmers, especially if the tree in question has anything to do with power lines. Just let the power company take care of it from there.
Limbs bent over by snow or ice should be given time to try and recover; they’ll often restore themselves to their original shape after a while.
If you’re dealing with a bent smaller limb — keeping in mind the “no danger of killing yourself situation” — proceed by shaking off the snow that’s weighing down the limb. This is best done immediately after snow has fallen. If the snow is fluffy, use a broom to carefully remove as much of it as possible. If the snow is hardened or iced over, it’s best to keep the broom away because trying to shake the frozen coating off the strained branches will probably cause more harm than good.
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