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February 11, 2010

Snow damaged trees: send us your pictures

Photo credit: Baltimore Sun/Susan Reimer

We should have wrapped.

We should have pruned.

But we didn't do either one, and now we are in trouble.

We've been talking this week about snow damage to trees, shrubs and ornamentals. And the frustration of professionals trying to get to damaged trees before they fall on cars, houses and power lines.

We haven't had snow like this in Maryland since they started keeping records somewhere in the 1800s, so I think we can be forgiven for not planning better.

It seems clear that we all should have staked our delicate conifers and then wrapped them in burlap. We should have done the same for our shrubs and ornamentals. I don't know if my hydrangeas will ever be the same.

When it comes to our hollies, magnolias and giant evergreens, we should have done some judicious pruning to stabilize the strength of the trees and to remove branches that were just hanging out there, inviting trouble.

Yeah, well, we didn't do any of those things. And now the birds are coming home to roost...well, maybe not in any of THOSE trees.

When you go out to assess the damage, take a picture and send it to Garden Variety at

We will put them up for all to see, and share in your pain and disappointment. After all, misery loves company.

In the meantime, do what you can with a broom. Brush as much of the snow off as you can.

(That may work for my Nellie Stevens holly, but I can't even see where my shrubs were.

Posted by Susan Reimer at 9:09 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Weather


My Japanese Lace Leaf maples (weepers) have splits down the middle of the main crotch. Trimming the crotch on either side of the break will result in a standalone trunk. Two questions: Will anything grow out of the trunk (really, there will be no branches left after 'pruning')? Should I attempt to wrap the two halves of the crotch together and hope that they will 'heal' eventually (I expect that the wrap would be a permanent part of the resulting tree)?

This is a case for the experts! Call an arborist! --Susan

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About Susan Reimer
Susan Reimer has spent 16 years writing about raising kids - among other topics - in her column for The Baltimore Sun. And every time son Joseph or daughter Jessie passed another milestone - driver's license, college, wedding or a move to a new military duty station - she has planted another garden. Now she will be writing about those gardens - and yours - here on Garden Variety.

Susan isn't an expert gardener, but she wasn't an expert mother, either. Both - the kids and the gardens - seem to be doing well in spite of her.

She lives in Annapolis with her husband, Gary Mihoces, who loves to cut his grass but has noticed that there seems to be less of it every time the kids pass another milestone.

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