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Garden Fail: Knocking Snow Off Bent Branches

If possible, just leave weighed-down branches alone. Source: Claire Tourigny, from the book Les 1500 trucs du jardinier paresseux

When snow or ice bends the branches of trees, shrubs and conifers, the best thing to do is … nothing at all!

Trying to clear snow or (especially) ice off a bent branch with a broom or shovel can do more damage than the weight of the snow/ice itself, as wood becomes brittle at temperatures below freezing. Even manually straightening the limb may cause the wood to crack.

When a thaw occurs, the branches almost always return to their original shape. And if some were to remain a bit bent, a temporary stake, added for a week or two in the spring, will usually be enough to get them back in shape.

Of course, if the weighed-down branch is blocking access to your walk or is otherwise in the way, you’ll have little choice but to try to raise it (but try a broom rather than a shovel). Otherwise, just let Ma Nature do her job!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, laidbackgardener.blog will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

1 comment on “Garden Fail: Knocking Snow Off Bent Branches

  1. Pingback: Lawn Maintenance Tools Guide: How to Care for Blowers and Lawnmowers - Laidback Gardener

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