Snow blowers provide a fast, easy way to clear your walkways and driveway after a heavy snowfall. And your trees appreciate a decent blanket of snow protecting their roots. But when you take heavy snow tossed with a good deal of force and aim it at your trees, damage will be the likely result.
Protecting Your Trees
Snow blowers and snowplows collect nearly everything on the surface of your sidewalk or driveway, including sleet, salt, and gravel. When this mixture is hurled at your trees you can expect to see broken branches and damaged bark.
Many older trees will take this type of abuse in stride (as long as they aren’t exposed to excessive salt or de-icing products, which can poison your tree from the roots). But younger, newly planted trees need to be protected from the effects of snow blowers and snowplows.
Pay attention when using your snow blower. Watch where the snow is thrown and try to shift your pattern to spread the excess snow around evenly. Remember that icy snow easily damages your shrubs, flowers and bushes as well, whereas your grass can take the weight without too many complaints.
Plant trees in locations far enough away from the walkways and driveways, ensuring they’re out of the line of fire in winter.
If you need to have trees close by, be sure they’re tough specimens. Tender types, such as Japanese Maples, are not the best choice. As the trees age and branches become thicker and more established, the problem could lessen. But flowering bushes and fruit trees will always be vulnerable to damage from flying snow.
Burlap and other types of tree protection used to cover young saplings may be able to protect your trees from this danger, but even the thickest covering is useless against the weight of heavy, sleet-filled snow.
Be cautious and careful when using a snow blower. Aim away from your trees if at all possible, to protect them from the damaging effects of snow thrown by your blower.