Environment, Science

How Freezing Winter Weather Can Affect Atlanta’s Trees

Lots of ice building up can break branches or take a tree down.
Credit via Pixabay
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As Atlantans prepare for the snow, buying groceries and heading home from work and school early, there’s one thing there’s not much anyone can do anything about — at least not at this point: trees.

Lots of ice building up can break branches or take a tree down. But when trees fall during big storms, that usually means they were already having issues, says arborist Chris Heim, district manager at Davey Tree Company in Atlanta. The best thing to do to prevent that, he says, is to keep trees healthy in the first place – getting them checked and keeping them pruned.

“Obviously everybody gets nervous when a storm’s coming, but you need to be proactive; you can’t wait till the last minute,” he says.

He says trees are like humans. If they’re healthy, they have a better chance of getting through challenges — though in trees’ case the challenges are things like storms, drought and beetles.

Georgia’s ongoing drought is likely affecting trees already – especially ones that weren’t in the best of health heading into it, Heim says. Although drought stress probably wouldn’t be directly related to trees losing limbs to snow or ice, he says, it could leave them more susceptible to insect attacks this spring.

“I think you will see an uptick this coming year of different kind of insect issues resulting from the stress put on the trees from the drought,” he says.

If you’re reading this as the winter storm heads in, wondering how your trees will do when it’s too late to do much, Heim’s advice: “Just pray for the best.”

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