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Apple trees bent way over in heavy wet snow!  RSS feed

 
Posts: 28
Location: Finland, Minnesota Zone 4a
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So we just got walluped by an unusually extreme early winter storm up here near the north shore of Lake Superior in NE MN.  13 inches of heavy wet snow and some of our young apple trees (all tansplanted in the last 3 years) are way bent over baiscally all the way into the fresh snow.  I shook the snow off of em, is there anything else I should do?  Most we planted this year, but one was planted 3 years ago.  Has anyone else ever had this happen or had an experience with something like this?  Any suggestions?  Thanks

 
pollinator
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Hi.  It is scary to see them bent over like that.  Have had it happen a number of times, even to a pretty decent sized 7 year old tree - often because it seems my apple trees loose their leaves later than everyone else so they always seem to have leaves to catch those wet snows and weigh them down.   I had one occasion when we had an ice storm and I had to take the sledge hammer to break the ice off the bent over leaves and limbs to get them off the ground.  Been lucky that nothing has ever broken and they seem to get through the rest of the winter OK.  

So yeah, knocking off the snow so they can stand back up is about all you can do. 
 
steward
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Yep, seems I get that every spring and fall here in Denver. I have a cherry tree that has a trunk about 6 inches across and is about 30 ft tall. It always amazes me how that tree bends completely over without breaking, and comes right back. I try to get out there and knock the snow off but sometimes I am doing other things and miss it.

One year I tried putting 2x4's under a branch of a peach tree, as an experiment, and the branch snapped so I guess it is best to let nature do her thing.
 
garden master
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snow weight, not really an issue, as the snow melts away the trees will rebound.
Shaking the snow off them is fine, and will prevent the possibility of them setting a bend in the trunk.

In areas like you live in, don't stake them except from spring through summer, removing the stakes (if you use them) before the first snow, the reason for this is that supported trees will tend to break where the support ends.
This goes for trunks as well as branches.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Give them a gentle shake and the snow falls right off.  Don't try to re-straighten the tree.  It will slowly come back on its own.  Hopefully, the stress of having been bent over will make them stronger in the future.

If there is just too much snow weighing them down, now would be a good time to prune them back a bit and thin out a third of the branches.  That way during the next big storm, not as much snow will weigh them down.

I've seen whole limbs snap off of mature fruit trees causing a lot of damage and leaving a big open wound in the trunk.  You don't want that to happen, as it will shorten the life of your tree.  But a few prudent prunes will go a long way to lighten the snow holding capacity of the tree.
 
Posts: 214
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
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Ouch. I hate when that happens. We're buried here in SE Montana too... nothing young enough to be bothered by it on my place. The youngest volunteer apple grows like that all by itself (to the point it could be turned into a hoop house, if it wasn't already so messy).

BTW if you put a space or hard return between your pictures, they won't force the page so wide that it gets hard to read.
 
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I had an old apple tree whose trunk started off as an arch about 4' high.  I'm not sure if the newer end had rooted, but it was supporting a fine new growth, with the apples at a convenient height.
 
Rez Zircon
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That's actually a good idea... when I plant some new apple trees, maybe I'll try turning them into arches!
 
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