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How to Treat Frost Damaged Trees

Feb 26, 2019

With this chilly winter weather upon us, many trees tend to become damaged due to frost. The most obvious way to spot frost damage is from broken limbs, however, it can often be slow and internal, with signs not showing until spring. 

The ideal time to prune is early spring as you can see if the tree is in recovery and if any limbs need removing. Loose branches should be removed to avoid injury to potential passers-by.  All other pruning should wait until the tree is out of dormancy. You should remove no more than 1/3 of the material of the tree when pruning.

How to Prune winter-damaged tress

  • Use sharp tools to avoid damaging the trees any further
  • make sure cuts are at an angle that reflects moisture away from the cut - this reduces the chance of mould.
  • Keep cuts outside of the trunk by removing outside of the branch collar.
  • Large branches must be removed in 3 cuts - one under, one over, then one final cut. 
    This reduces the chances that the weight of the branch will cause it to tear.
  • Make you cut all the way back to green wood to ensure all remaining plant material is alive.


All in all, there isn't too much to worry about with frost damage. The damage is largely just aesthetic, and the plant will quickly resume its growth. There is a strong possibility that the growth will be stunted for the current season, but there will be little lasting impact.

Category: Tree Care