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Conservation Connection – Protecting your trees in the winter

As we see each year in St. Louis, wintertime means cold, snow, and occasionally ice. With our recent bout of ice, it’s a good time to consider how a potential winter storm might affect our trees. Community forester Danny Moncheski visits KPLR 11 News at Noon with tips for homeowners about winter tree care.

Q. What is the most important thing homeowners should consider?
• If there`s damage to trees due to ice the first thing to think about is safety
• Check for any dangerous situations (branches that might fall, nearby power lines, etc.)
• Call your local utility company if there’s any concerns regarding electrical or phone lines
• Assess the damage
• Smaller cleanup and pruning work can be done by homeowners
• Larger scale work should be done by professionals

Q. What should a homeowner do if the damage is significant?
• Determine if the tree can be saved (more than 50% crown is intact)
• Treat with selective pruning
• If more than 50% of crown is gone or trunk is split, damage is too severe and tree can`t be saved
• Removal will be required
• Call a Certified Arborist if professional help is needed

Q. Is there anything in particular homeowners need to be watchful for?
• Be careful of door-to-door services offering to trim trees after storms; be sure and check their credentials
• Topping trees is never a good idea; it will lead to problems down the road

Q. What are some things to do to prevent problems in the first place?
• Ice and storm damage tends to occur where the tree already has weak branches and limbs
• Keep your trees well-pruned; remove weak or rubbing branches and water sprouts and suckers early
• Maintain your trees in good health all year with proper, mulching and watering
• Do not plant trees that are prone to brittle wood and easily damaged branches, like silver maple, box elder, poplar and Bradford pear