Monday, January 11, 2016

Protecting Fruit Trees from Heavy Snow Loads

In Utah and many other parts of the world, winter snow and ice storms can cause severe damage to fruit trees. Because of their lateral branching habit, fruit trees will collect and hold large amounts of snow and ice. If they have not been pruned correctly your tree may experience broken branches or other irreversible damage.

Heavy Snow Loads Can Damage Fruit Trees
The damage caused by snow and ice is typically a result of problems that can be avoided by regular pruning.

Included bark is one of the main reasons for branch failure. When two parallel branches grow together the bark tissue of the two branches become embedded in the tree causing a weak spot that will fail when heavy snow and ice put downward pressure on the branches. For more information, follow this link.

Included Bark Creates Weak Spots in Fruit Trees
Included bark can be prevented by monitoring you trees and making sure that your trees have strong branch angles. Branches that are more perpendicular to each other are stronger than branches that are more parallel. For more information, follow this link.

What should you do if branches break in the winter? When branches break, it is important to remove them from your tree. Broken branches are a great place for pests and disease to harbor and enter your tree. If possible, make cuts below the break to ensure that you have a clean cut that leaves the smallest damaged surface area possible.

Broken Branches Should be Removed From Your Fruit Trees
If you are concerned about irreversible damage on your fruit trees this winter due to heavy snow loads and ice storms, make sure you are pruning your trees regularly and make sure you are following these eight steps to correct pruning.

Correctly Pruned Fruit Trees Will Hold Heavy Snow Loads

For more information regarding fruit tree care and pruning follow the links in the right column or email me at russ@simplytreesut.com