University of Maryland Extension

Storm Damage - Trees and Shrubs

snow and ice on boxwood

Back to Common Problems - Trees and Shrubs

Storm damage symptoms are often obvious limb breakage and leaf shredding after storms. Winter winds may cause shrubs heavily laden with snow or ice to split and have limb breakage. In many cases shrubs will bend under the weight of snow and ice, but will return to normal when the ice or snow melts. Snow can be removed with a gentle upward sweep of a broom. Ice should be allowed to remain, as attempts to remove it may cause branches or twigs to break. Broken and split branches should be pruned out and removed as soon as possible. Hail damage may shred leaves or cause extensive defoliation. All bark injuries will be on the same side of branches. Bark injuries can lead to damage from disease causing fungi.

storm damaged tree

Trees struck by lightning may exhibit variable symptoms, from a thin strip of bark being peeled off, to violent breakage. In some cases the internal wood may be burned without obvious external symptoms.

See more on Lightning Damage.

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