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The Ice Storm Aftermath from a Forester’s Perspective

As the freezing rain coated the trees in Maine over the holidays, their limbs and branches got heavier and heavier under the weight of the ice.

Now that the ice has been melted away by wind-swept rains the trees will start their recovery.

Or will they?

District Forester with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, Patty Cormier, says some trees do actually recover over time, but ice storms are forestry’s example of the survival of the fittest.

For any of these trees it all comes down to what the condition of the tree was prior to the ice load,” states Cormier. “Maybe it could come back, and some of them do, but you’ve got to think about it as Mother Nature’s way of thinning out the forest.”

Cormier says it’s sort of ironic that hardwood trees are designed by nature to drop their leaves in the fall so they’re less susceptible to ice storm damage, yet the birch still bends under the weight.

Cormier recommends landowners let nature take its course and wait until spring or summer before removing any bent birches in the event they are strong enough to recover naturally.


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