A few days ago I posted some photos from our ice storm one year ago. While the ice was beautiful, it was also incredibly destructive. When it first started coating everything, I was amused. However, some of our trees had not yet lost their leaves, so when the branches started to droop, I was worried. I went outside and tried to shake the ice off of the branches. But the ice kept coming. Shaking the branches would not do the trick. I also have a lot of trees, and I couldn’t keep up with the ice accumulation.
But the tree that sustained the most damage was my favorite Japanese maple tree. It was a reliable blazing ball of red and orange every fall for me, and I had come to really love the tree. It anchored my front yard landscape. I knew it was badly in need of some pruning before the ice storm, but like most gardeners—getting trees pruned often falls to the bottom of our list of priorities. It had grown too tall and the branches were becoming leggy. These trees do better generally when they are pruned back and kept more compact, and shaped. Here is my tree about 3 weeks before the November ice storm last year:
Most of the branches were broken, I didn’t think it would recover. I hired a guy to chainsaw off the broken limbs abutting the trunk, and then I left the tree to recover.
I was amazed last spring when it made leaves, and appeared to still have a life it was fighting for. Here are the remaining branches that were left on the tree, after they had sprung back up. It clearly shows how leggy I had let the tree become. You can see that the branches that had snapped during the ice storm were all from the central portion of the tree:
I think it is interesting to see that the tree is putting on new growth in the center of the tree, sort of like it knows what to do. There are healthy spring green shoots growing from the center of the tree:
I finally had to hire a professional to prune this tree. I don’t have loppers or equipment long enough. He shaped the tree, and told me he thinks it will be fine. Here is the tree now, just a few days ago:
I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks this spring. I learned that sometimes if we don’t prune trees ourselves, nature does it for us!