Ice storms are a fairly common occurrence throughout much of the eastern United States. These storms cause significant damage to trees in natural and urban settings. Understanding ice build-up patterns on branches will help better recognize branching traits and patterns that predispose trees to the risk of failure during ice storms.
An improved ability to recognize these characteristics will help improve the scientific basis for pruning recommendations for branches at an increased risk of failure in areas that are prone to ice storms. This project seeks to answer some of these fundamental questions by subjecting tree branches to simulated freezing rain in situ, quantifying ice accretion and branch response (up to and including breakage) to increased loads.