Most of the time, tree care is pretty hands-on—pruning branches, spreading mulch, watering roots, you name it.

But if your trees are bent over by ice, the best thing you can do is: nothing at all.

Well, at least to start off. While you shouldn’t take action the moment you spot ice on your tree, you can proactively plan for ways to help your tree once the ice melts. Below, read about the steps you should take after finding ice on your tree.

What to do with ice-covered trees

As mentioned, when your trees are bent over by ice, it’s best to leave them alone. But why?

Ice coating on branches can be very thick. Plus, tree branches are brittle in winter. So, if you try to break the ice off, you’ll probably cause more damage than just letting it melt on its own.

Instead of attempting to remove the ice, here’s what you should do with frozen tree branches.

Frozen tree branches

The good news about frozen tree branches is that the ice will eventually melt, and trees that were only bent under the weight of ice should straighten up in no time.

If a tree branch is hanging or broken after the ice melts, proper pruning is the key to recovery. Pruning not only removes hazardous branches that pose a risk to your safety, but it also improves the tree’s overall structure and strength, which will be a big help the next time a storm hits.

If you’re up for the task, you can prune small tree branches yourself. But, never try to prune heavy or large branches—those should always be left to the professionals. And of course, you can reach out to an arborist to take care of the small branches, too! Contact an arborist for help with pruning broken branches.

What do you put on a tree when a large branch breaks off?

If a tree loses a large branch, it won’t be as stable or balanced as it was before. Cabling and bracing can help with that. Installing steel cables helps anchor trees so they’re better able to handle storms. If your tree lost a large branch, Get in contact with a local arborist to find out if it’s a good candidate for cabling and bracing.

Looking for ways to protect your tree from snow, too?

Here are 5 steps for handling snow bent tree branches.

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