A: Snow and ice on branches can cause them to break or bend from the extra weight. High winds will compound the damage. The result is often misshapened plants from broken or split branches. Little can be done about removing ice from plants. Snow can be removed with a broom. Always sweep upward --- lifting snow off. When the branches are frozen they are quite brittle.
Do not be in a hurry to prune to correct plants bent out of shape by snow or ice. Often the plants will straighten up in a few days by itself. Broken branches, however, should be pruned as soon as possible. Proper pruning is effective in minimizing potential damage from ice and snow. Particularly important is the removal of weak, narrow-angled, v-shaped crotches. --from NC State University Cooperative Extension
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Union County, NC