It may be past the beginning of the year, but winter isn't over yet. You can bet there will be more snow and ice around much of the country. If you're in a snowy area or moving to one, you need to know how to protect your trees from too much snow. A light dusting looks lovely, but heavy piles can break branches and kill off leaves and needles. There are ways to protect trees from snow, but you have to pay attention to the trees every time there is a storm. Don't assume that one action will spare the tree for the whole winter.
Shaking off Snow
The easiest way to prevent snow from breaking branches is to shake it off occasionally when the snow layer is relatively thin. If you forget and find the tree covered in heavy snow, call in a tree service; you don't want to shake the tree only to have a bunch of broken branches rain down on you. But barring that, if you get some snow and know that more storms are forecast, give smaller trees a shake or two. Don't stand under the branches unless you want a bunch of snow coming down on top of your head, and watch out for snow flying outward.
Some smaller trees can be bound or tied up for the winter. These trees are often fragile and will crack easily under the weight of the snow, so they are tied up, with the canopies forming a compact shape that won't let snow inside easily. Larger trees need to have an arborist do any binding as the "binding" involves connecting all of the branches with cables to prevent snow from breaking the branch. Note that all bindings have to be removed after the threat of snow is gone; otherwise, they could harm the trees as the trees grow.
Broken and Dead Tissue
After a severe storm, there may still be a lot of damage even if you took precautions. Inspect the trees when the majority of the snow is gone and see if any areas look shriveled or cracked. It's essential that you have an arborist take a look at these trees because it may be possible to save them, but if not, you have to have the dead trees removed from your yard.
Arborists are skilled at noticing small signs that a tree needs help. Contact an arborist or a tree service with certified arborists on staff to have these trees evaluated quickly.