Most of the time, tree care is pretty hands-on—pruning branches, spreading mulch, watering roots, you name it. But if one day you discover that your trees are totally consumed by and being bent over by ice, actually the best thing you can do for it just leave it alone.

Well, at least to start off. While you shouldn’t take action the moment you spot ice on your tree, you can proactively plan for ways to help your tree once the ice melts. These tips should help you with what to do should you find yourself in this situation. Sometimes it just gets cold and it’s an unavoidable fact of life.

What (Not) to do With Ice Covered Trees

As mentioned, when your trees are bent over by ice, it’s best to leave them alone. But – as you are likely wondering – why would you want to do that?

Ice coating on branches can be very thick. Plus, tree branches are brittle in winter. So, if you try to break the ice off, you’ll probably cause more damage than just letting it melt on its own. There’s a very good chance that you just outright break off the limb in your attempt to save it. The best treatment for frozen branches is just prevention, and if you can’t prevent it well

Frozen Tree Branches

The good news about frozen tree branches is that the ice will eventually melt, and trees that were only bent under the weight of ice should straighten up in no time. If a tree branch is still hanging or broken after the ice melts, proper pruning is the key to recovery. Pruning not only removes hazardous branches that pose a risk to your safety, but it also improves the tree’s overall structure and strength, which will be a big help the next time a storm hits.

If you’re up for the task, you can prune small tree branches yourself. But, never try to prune heavy or large branches—those should always be left to the tree cutting professionals. And of course, you can reach out to an arborist to take care of the small branches, too! Contact an arborist for help with pruning broken branches.

What do You do When a Branch Does Break off?

You actually don’t need to worry too much unless that branch was a central support for your tree, it was a huge part of the tree’s mass, or it was healthy and strong beforehand. Looking at the point of the break should tell you if the branch was sick or dying for any reason. If you have lost a big branch that concerns you go ahead and contact Treecsape, our Elizabeth tree professionals can be out in mere days or less to start looking at and working on your tree.