Follow Pruning Guidelines
When surveying and repairing winter damage, start with your trees – they are generally the most valuable additions to your property. As you survey the damage – ask yourself, “Is this tree salvageable or should it be removed?” If the damage is extensive, or you are unsure about how the damage may affect the tree’s overall health or future growth, hire a professional for a consultation. Replacing a severely damaged tree with a younger one, perhaps a type you like even better, may be the best solution.
If a limb is broken somewhere along its length, or damaged beyond repair, employ good pruning practices and saw off the remaining piece at the branch collar, being careful not to cut into the trunk or leave a stub. Sometimes a fallen limb may strip bark off the tree trunk. To repair this damage, cut the ragged edges of the loose bark away from the stripped area to firmly affixed healthy bark. Nature will take care of the rest.
Be Patient with Your Shrubs
Shrubs can suffer the same damage as trees. Most shrubs are resilient, however, and slowly regain their shape as the weather warms. It is important to wait until all danger of frost has passed (approximately May 15 in the Greenland, NH region), and then proceed to check each plant. Gently scrape your fingernail or a sharp object on the stem of the plant. If it is green, there is still life in the plant – give it an opportunity to bounce back. Prune back until you reach the green area. Completely broken or frost bitten branches may be pruned away, but take care to maintain the shrub’s form and balance, keeping in mind its growth pattern so it will not look lopsided or ungainly. Again, if the damage is severe, you may need to replace the plant.
Give Them a Good Meal
As plants emerge from dormancy in the spring, they’ll want to start absorbing nutrients as much as possible. We recommend the non-toxic Superthrive to stimulate root growth and soothe stressed plants. Use once weekly for four weeks, and your plants should be able to recuperate quickly. Milorganite is also an excellent all-purpose, slow-release fertilizer with the added bonus of being a very effective deer repellant if used regularly. Both options are ecofriendly, and people and pet safe.
With prompt attention in early spring, you can easily undo much of the damage and help your landscape recover with ease.