Why Some Trees Weathered The Ice Storm Better Than Others

Feb 27, 2014

Fallen trees from the recent ice storm in the South Willamette Valley can still be seen littering parks and yards.  After the storm, it became obvious that certain kinds of trees were damaged more than others.  KLCC wondered why.

Ice coats tree during early-February winter storm.
Credit Cameron Yee

Alby Thoumsin is an arborist with Eugene’s Sperry Tree Care.  He says Oregon white oaks, silver maples and sweet gums were hit the hardest during the ice storm.  The reason has to do with the silhouette of the trees.  Vase-shaped trees sustained more damage than those shaped like cones.  

Thoumsin:  “It became more like a platform for the ice to accumulate.  And depending on the profile of the branches and the profile of the forks, that was splitting trees in half.”

Thoumsin says native trees are generally better suited to weather such storms.  Much of the initial pick-up work has been done, but now companies like Sperry Tree Care are beginning the process of reshaping damaged trees to promote new growth.

Thoumsin:  “This is an event that is going to last quite a while.  We’re not done at all.  It’s going to be six months worth of restoration.  We’re going to see the effects of this storm quite a while.  We’re not done yet.”