Aftermath of an Ice Storm in the Garden

February 23rd, 2014

In December, right before Christmas we were hit by a major ice storm, the worst in decades. People at the power company said it was the worst they could remember. We didn’t lose power, luckily, but people all over our town did, some for as long as 10 days (into January). Major commercial areas lost power, more traffic lights were off than were working, downed power lines were everywhere, some left for days or weeks, because they didn’t have the man power to fix them all. This isn’t Georgia either, this is Michigan, we have tons of crews and plows and salt and people trained for this sort of weather, and it still took weeks.

Then because of the polar vortex the ice stuck on the trees for weeks, and if not for an early January warmup (above freezing for maybe 2 days, woohoo!) it’d still be there. Luckily we didn’t have much wind or it would have been worse, with even more trees falling (as it is, every single yard had a branch in it). To this day I’m unable to take down my Christmas lights because they’re frozen in thick ice (now topped with snow). Likewise branches still litter curbsides everywhere around town as crews couldn’t get them picked up before the snow entombed them.

It was beautiful, peaceful, annoying, and dangerous all at once. I went outside, carefully, and it was quiet, and I live on a 4 lane road, but no one was out, not even the sound of a distant snowblower, it was still, like in the country where I grew up, and then CRACK, or BANG. You’d head or see branches fall, it was like the opening day of deer season out there. If this happens to you, be careful, and do not go outside, and if you do do not walk or stand underneath trees.

It made for a very white Christmas, and it was pretty, but thousands of people spent the holidays in a hotel, and many trees were lost.

For your garden there isn’t much you can do. For heavy, wet snows, that bend branches and bushes to the ground, brushing the snow off can help, but you can’t brush ice off, so you sort of just have to bear it, and take any damage that is dished out.

Ice on an Apple Tree

Ice on an Apple Tree

Limbs Down Across the Street

Limbs Down Across the Street

Ice covers an apple tree, a juniper, a barberry, even some ornamental grass.

Ice covers an apple tree, a juniper, a barberry, even some ornamental grass.

Ice Encasing a Barberry

Ice Encasing a Barberry

Ice Covering a Spent Rose Flower

Ice Covering a Spent Rose Flower

Ice on my Roses

Ice on my Roses

The bright red of a barberry berry pops against the frozen landscape.

The bright red of a barberry berry pops against the frozen landscape.

Closeup of my Cedrus Deodora 'Karl Fuchs' turned into an icicle. It bent but did not break.

Closeup of my Cedrus Deodora ‘Karl Fuchs’ turned into an icicle. It bent but did not break.

Wide shot of my cedrus, showing it leaning heavily. Ironically the arborvitae behind it stayed upright, each little leave was covered in use, but they stayed upright. Normally heavy snows bend them all over the place.

Wide shot of my cedrus, showing it leaning heavily. Ironically the arborvitae behind it stayed upright, each little leave was covered in use, but they stayed upright. Normally heavy snows bend them all over the place.

Apricot tree totally encapsulated

Apricot tree totally encapsulated

Pear tree dripping with ice

Pear tree dripping with ice

It needed no help weeping, but this weep larch got a good inch of ice.

It needed no help weeping, but this weep larch got a good inch of ice.

Grass, crunchy with ice.

Grass, crunchy with ice.

Raspberry Ice Anyone? This is particularly bad, those long drips add significant weight.

Raspberry Ice Anyone? This is particularly bad, those long drips add significant weight.

Kiwi Vine Icicle Forest

Kiwi Vine Icicle Forest

Ice Laying Thick on Branches

Ice Laying Thick on Branches

5 Responses to “Aftermath of an Ice Storm in the Garden”

  1. Teresa Marie  Says:

    The ice storm has been terrible on our shrubs and trees! However, your pictures are really pretty :) I’m hoping that one positive side effect will be killing off of Black Tar Spot on maples.
    Cheers;
    Teresa Marie

  2. Martin  Says:

    I really liked the phot of the Cedrus Deodora, I cant imagine gardening in that weather

  3. Eriks  Says:

    Terrific photos

  4. Makhosi Patrick Ngwenya  Says:

    thanks i really like your photos on web

  5. Dee Sewell  Says:

    They look beautiful but brrr, make me feel cold looking at them! I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that we’ve barely even had a frost here in Ireland this year. It’s all very unnerving.

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