Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Waking up on Thursday morning to a blanket of cold wet snow came as a shock to many in Missoula, especially those who have already invested hundreds of dollars in plants and flowers for their yards.

Happily, though, our Talk Back guests just happened to be Dr. Peter Kolb of MSU Extension and the UM Forestry School and Sandy Perrin, Missoula County’s Chief Horticulturist who were able to calm some of the fears of our callers as to the danger posed by the snowfall.

Peter Kolb and Sandy Perrin Addressed the Spring Snow Event

“This is Montana and you know we can blame you (Peter Christian) because you were singing the theme from ‘Frozen’ and now this,” began Dr. Kolb. “Listen; for as long as I've been out here over the last 40 years, this is pretty typical. It’s not every year but certainly at least once every five years or more (we get this spring snow).”

Sandy Perrin, who provides advice on lawn and garden issues, provided encouragement to those who were concerned about the snow.

Perrin said Flowers and Plants will Bounce Back After the Snow Melts

“Things will bounce back,” she said. “In fact, snow is actually a great insulator. A lot of those annuals like your petunias and geraniums that you planted; they're going to be fine. The underneath that snow has been insulated, and things are going to melt off today. The thing is about the broken stems or branches of trees that are going to show some damage, due to the weight of the snow, you should be getting those limbs shaken off trying to get them a little more upright.”

Dr. Kolb provided specific details on how to care for trees that received a heavy dose of snow.

Dr. Kolb had Advice on Pruning Back Damaged Tree Branches

“So what's broken off requires proper pruning,” he said. “We want to prune back to where their existing branches are and remove those jagged edges that won't heal properly. Always prune back to existing substantial branches because then that cut will heal properly. If your branches are bent over, give them a day or two. Once the snow comes off of them or if you're willing to go out and shake them off, I find a push broom works really well because then you won't have the snow coming down your neck.”

READ MORE: How to Have a Montana Summer Free of Wasps and Yellowjackets

Dr. Kolb advised callers to watch their trees in the next few days for signs of snow damage.

“Give them a day or two, and if they don't straighten out in a couple of days, then you're going to have to prop them up,” he said. “You can either do that with a cushioned cord such as pipe insulation. You put a rope around about a third from the top of the of the younger tree and cushion that loop with some of that pipe insulation because trees are starting to grow very rapidly and the stems are very sensitive to pressure. So get some of that pipe insulation, put that on the rope loop, tie it straight, stick it down, and then you're going to have to leave it that way till the end of summer.”

Click here to listen to the entire two-hour conversation with Dr. Kolb and Sandy Perrin on Talk Back.

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