Heavy, wet snow load is changing columnar trees into weeping trees this fall! I have several varieties of trees on my yard that did not appreciate the heavy wet snow we received in early November. Upright Junipers, Cedars and Birch have all been bending under the weight of the wet snow. Some so severe that my Parkland Pillar Birch ended up looking like a weeping birch for a few days. This picture here is that of a Dakota Pinnacle Birch on our nursery site. It has come back a little, but I am concerned that if we don’t tie some of these branches back up for the winter and into early spring they may have some permanent structural damage. If it’s important for you to keep your columnar tree looking columnar, then I suggest using some twine to wrap the tree up into its original form. You may have to also place a stake down the centre of the stem for support. The last thing you want when you’re looking for a privacy hedge from Parkland Pillar Birch is to have it drooping into your backyard and your neighbour’s yard. I’m sure you purchased a columnar tree because you appreciate its narrow structure.
Our yards tend to be smaller these days and the spaces premium. Plus the branching will just become more damaged with more snow loads onto it and could eventually break. The day after the snowfall I took a broom out and tapped the snow off most of the branches. Many of the trees recovered to some degree but I will still go out this weekend to tie up my branches. I’m going to start with a tie by the stem and then just loop my way up and around like lights on a Christmas tree, before tying it again. I’ll need to tie the string back on the stem or a bamboo stake that is supporting the mainframe. Just make sure to untie the tree once spring arrives. Leaving string tied around the trunk or branch will begin to choke the tree by late spring as it grows thicker.