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Protecting Trees From Winter Damage

Local tree experts say there's no need to worry about ice affecting trees planted after the Joplin tornado.
JOPLIN, MO.--- Local tree experts say there's no need to worry about ice affecting trees planted after the Joplin tornado. Chris Pistole with the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center looks at some of the new trees at McIndoe Park.

"Some of those older trees are the ones that I think will tend to show more of the damage. If they do have dead branches or diseased branches and they're weak, yes the ice storm will definitely knock those down," said Chris Pistole, Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center. 

He says smaller trees like these and ones planted around Joplin after the tornado are very resilient from ice.

"Their wood hasn't hardened yet. They're very flexible," said Pistole. 

If your trees are bent over by the weight of ice, there's a simple fix to straighten them out.

"Once the ice is melted off, if they don't do that naturally on their own, then you can use cables and ties and try to straighten them up, but don't have it longer than three months," said Pistole. 

Pistole also warns home owners that ice melt can be damaging to vegetation in your yard.

"You want to look at those packages carefully, make sure the chemical isn't going to harm your newly planted trees and shrubs or other types of soft vegetation," said Pistole. 

If you don't feel like disposing of your ice damaged tree debris, you can create a safe haven for animals that will protect them from predators and future ice and winter storms.

"One of the things people can do with the branches that have fallen, rather than just getting rid of them, create a brush pile which is actually a really great shelter for wildlife," said Pistole. 

Pistole suggests checking your city ordinances and codes to make sure it allows for brush piles on your property.

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