trees in winter prevent damage

Dealing with Winter Damage to Your Trees

Help your trees survive the winter and repair any damage.

Each season brings its own challenges and benefits. Winter can be a difficult few months with harsh weather, freezing temperatures, and lack of nutrients from sunlight. Taking extra care of your trees during the cold months is crucial for strengthening and growth.

Unfortunately, some storms can cause trees to fall or pull roots out. If more than a third of the tree’s roots are exposed, it is best to call a professional Arborist. They can remove it as soon as possible. Weak or partially fallen trees can cause major damage in the harsh winter as well as a breeding ground for parasites in the spring months.

Here are some tips for preventing damage to your trees this winter:

Brush off snow and ice if possible

Branches can be weighed down by snow and ice after a storm, and it can help to prevent breakage by using a broom or other tall tool to gently brush it off. Keep in mind to never brush down as it can actually break the branches before the snow would. Instead, do short steady strokes upward until most of the snow is cleared. **BE CAREFUL: loose branches can fall at any time, only try to clean up branches that are confirmed unbroken- or trust a professional with removal.

If a recent rain or melting has caused ice to cover the branches, the best option is to just let it melt as the temperature warms. If small branches do break, just watch the main limbs and make sure they are not broken to ensure the tree is still able to recover.


Pruning trees can be a tricky business regardless of the season, winter leaves plants especially vulnerable to the consequences of over-pruning. The goal is to help your plants recover, so avoid pruning branches that are not damaged just to keep a certain look. Additionally, not all “damaged” branches need to be pruned. It is important to remove hanging limbs, but to give your trees the best chances for survival, consult an Arborist. They will know the proper amount to remove.

Cover up those roots

Exposed roots are the most delicate parts of the tree and can be first to be affected by winter damage. Take precautions in the fall and invest in winter mulch to cover up these lifelines. If you do notice dying roots, it is incredibly important to assess the likelihood of your tree falling. Consulting an Arborist can help prevent thousands of dollars in damage before it happens.

If you do have to deal with a dead tree as a result of the cold weather, make sure to follow safety guidelines regarding tree removal.

  • Stay away from potential falling branches
  • Move anything that can be damaged away from the fall-path
  • Potentially install supports if in immediate danger
  • Remove any debris from the area near removal
  • Leave tree removal to professionals with the right liability

You can find more useful information and tips at the National Arborists Association.

Though winter can be a dreadful time for plant owners, it doesn’t have to be the end. The most effective actions people can take are preventative ones. Before the weather gets too cold, be sure to take steps like covering roots, pruning in advance, and moving (if necessary) to help your trees have the best chance of recovery as possible. If you need help preparing or caring for your trees this season, contact Front Range Arborists for a free quote.