A large tree branch succumbed to snow on Newport Avenue, near Beresford Place, Jan. 12. (Bob Harwood photo)

Avoid ‘branch failure’ – get out the hockey stick to clear snow from trees

Certain species of pine and cedar are susceptible to branch failure under snow

Parks professionals warn residents to look up when parking in the wake of heavy snowfall.

Snow accumulation can cause tree branches to break off, potentially damaging whatever lies underneath. Oak Bay’s parks services department is already out clearing a few incidents of what of what manager Chris Hyde-Lay calls “branch failures.”

READ MORE: Snow delays in Greater Victoria: traffic, buses, flights impacted

“When we add moisture into snow we begin to have branch failure,” Hyde-Lay said. “Right now it’s raining a little bit so that increases the weight of the snow on the branch, and there’s not a s lot of sap flow because it’s been so cold.”

Hyde-Lay says that sap flow helps keep trees strong while their growing, so the sustained cold weather isn’t doing any favours to fast-growing trees.

“They’re really all the same species of trees [that are falling]; they’re pine and deodar cedar. The crews will be busy for a good part of the day clearing this up,” Hyde-Lay said. “If people can go out to their hedges and just shake the snow off them to avoid any winter damage, that’s advisable, and that’s really true for any plant of value in your yard. If you can get the snow off of them it just minimizes the branch breakage.”

Hyde-Lay wanted to be clear that under no circumstances does he recommend climbing up to clear trees or hedges. That should be left to the professionals he said, recommending instead to use a broom or hockey stick.

READ MORE: Power out at Victoria International Airport



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

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