Tree’s Damage Caused by Snow, Ice, and Salt

Harsh climatic conditions in Toronto can cause severe damage to landscape plants. Trees can greatly suffer from the winter sun, wind, and cold temperatures. The harsh conditions can dry out the foliage and damage the trees' barks. Ice and snow may also injure or kill branches, roots, and flower buds. When snow and ice accumulate on tree branches, it may break the branches and topple the entire tree. During winter, salt comes in handy in deicing the parking lots, sidewalks, and streets. This salt may be harmful to trees. Several tips and seeking a reliable tree service in Toronto can help you to protect trees from damage resulting from ice, salt, and snow. Some of the common forms of tree damage during winter include:

Cold Damage

Trees often suffer cold damage due to the inability to survive harsh climatic conditions and also due to lack of plant hardiness. Trees suffer most in the face of extreme winter conditions. Some of the extreme winters conditions include pro-longed subzero temperatures and winter storms. Winter winds tend to dry out trees especially the evergreens. It is common for tree branches to break due to weight from ice and snow. Snow may be beneficial because it helps to cover plants and insulate them from wind and sub-zero temperatures. Plants suffer more in the absence of snow. Environmental stresses may escalate the damage that plants suffer during winter. If dry conditions extend into winter, they may make plant tissues more susceptible to cold damage.

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    Damage of the Roots

    For most trees, the stem, leaves, and the buds become dormant during winter. However, this is not the case with the roots. Roots do not become dormant quickly during winter. Roots are also less hardy than stems and they suffer most when exposed to extreme conditions. When exposed to temperatures of at or below 0 or temperatures of up to 10 degrees, most trees and shrubs die. Tree roots are likely to die when soil temperatures are low. Several factors influence soil temperatures. For instance, moist soil tends to be warmer because moist soil holds more heat than dry soil. For sandy and dry soils, frost penetration is often deeper and soil temperatures lower and this escalates root damage. You can help to keep soil temperatures higher by using mulch.

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    Frost Heaving

    Frost heaving is also a common cause of tree damage during winter. Repeated thawing and freezing of the soil during fall or spring makes the soil to contract or expand. This may lead to root damage and also heave new plantings out of the ground. Applying a layer of mulch may help to preserve the roots.

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    Salt Damage

    The use of salt to melt ice may cause damage to nearby living things including trees. The typical type of ice melting salt is rock salt, which comprises sodium chloride. However, ice-melting products made from magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride also exist. For optimal health, plants only require a little amount of sodium and excessive salt has adverse effects on trees. With large quantities of salt in the ground, plants are unable to absorb other nutrients. This leads to unhealthy plants.

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