During an ice storm, stay inside and be safe. Once the storm is finished, then its time to make an inspection of the landscape, especially the larger trees and evergreens. DO NOT walk underneath them. Stand back and inspect them looking for broken, hanging, even cracked branches or trunks. Even after the ice has melted, do another inspection. Not sure? Then call in a certified arborist to help visually inspect the trees. Again, stay away and do not walk underneath until you have inspected and cleared them as visually safe.
If smaller younger trees bend over during the ice storm, they should recover; younger evergreens as well. In advance of winter / snow and ice storms, if you have multi-leader upright evergreens such as arborvitae, you can help support those leaders by tying them together mid to 3/5 way up using panty hose around all leaders. Remove in spring.
If your plants suffer severe damages from an ice storm, do be careful cleaning up the debris. Anything where you would need to get on a ladder and or reach way above your head to cut, call in the professionals (certified arborists). More accidents happen after ice storms (cleanup) than during the storm. If your trees receive 40% or more loss, that’s usually when they are removed / past chances of good recovery. Broken or ripped branches need to be taken care of with a new clean cut, whole branch removed, etc to help the damaged areas seal / heal properly and insure future health of the tree.
Trees that were ‘topped’ or pruned incorrectly are generally more susceptible to damages than those not pruned or pruned correctly. If using ‘professional’ help in removing, repairing tree damages, tree care, make sure they are certified, licensed, trained and have full insurance. NOTE: If they do not have insurance and something happens while they are on your property, you will be responsible.
After a drought (along with previous years stresses on trees and evergreens) they could be much more susceptible to snow, ice and wind damages. So be careful, make sure you visually inspect the trees after the storms and later. And as we always recommend, have a certified arborist inspect and help maintain your trees on a regular basis, just like you going to the doctor for regular check-ups. Proper tree care / pruning by certified arborists (if needed) can help keep your trees in good health as well as reduce possible storm damage.