Early-season ice storm especially tough on trees

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Trees in Oklahoma still have their leaves- in a lot of cases they are still green- making a big problem for the trees, but also for your power.

“Lots and lots of extra weight which is going to make the trees more susceptible to breakage,” said Josh Campbell, Agriculture Educator at OSU Extension OKC.

Thanks to the storm, ice coating every surface of trees with the leaves still on them makes damage a strong possibility.

“You’ve got green leaves still on this tree and so much surface area that wouldn’t normally be there if this tree had lost all its leaves. So much surface area for ice to cling to and cause that extra weight and stress on this tree,” said Campbell.

Trees like Bradford Pears that are the usual candidates for breakage will likely be hit hard but Campbell says other species like elms will likely see damage when they normally wouldn’t in typical storms.

“That’s going to be disastrous,” said Monty Marcum.

The owner of Marcum’s Nursery says going out and shaking or beating on a small tree with a broom could help, but as for bigger trees…

“Wish there was some way to avoid it, short of going out there and building the Astrodome over your yard. I don’t think you are going to get that done,” said Marcum.

Along with damage to the trees, maybe the biggest risk is that those broken limbs sometimes knock out power.

“We have another front headed in this evening and overnight so customers can probably prepare for multi-day outages,” said David Kimmel of OG&E.

Kimmel says winds up to 35mph coupled with the green trees make this storm especially dangerous to trees and power lines.

He says to have a plan if the power goes out and charge up those devices ahead of time.

And as for going out to try to prune and cut down limbs that might damage lines?

“At this point, it’s better just to stay away, stay inside, stay safe. Let us take care of it,” said Kimmel.

Kimmel says you might get hurt by a limb falling while you are trying to cut down others.

As for taking care of a damage tree, Campbell says they have a help sheet on their OSU website.

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