Days after a massive ice storm hit parts of Ontario and Quebec over the weekend, damaged trees and downed branches remain widespread hazards, raising the question: what will happen to the trees?

Though the ice storm damage seems overwhelming to some Ontarians, it remains early to understand the full extent of damage to the region’s tree line. Without a significant rise in temperature, trees haven’t been able to thaw and recover from the weight of ice accumulated on their branches.

However, there is a benefit to freezing rain’s effect on some trees.

Healthy trees will be able to recover from glaze ice, the smooth coating of ice formed around trees and plants as a result of freezing rain, but it also relieves unhealthy trees of dead branches and speeds up their falling.

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  • Looks pretty! I mean the Logo on truck!!! lol

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nmedeiros"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nmedeiros">nmedeiros</a>:<br />

  • All signs point to ice

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/591020830/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing">onthewing</a>:<br />Road sign fringed with ice in Brampton during the ice storm that hit southern Ontario Dec 22 2013

  • B&W ice branches

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IamSteele"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/740788092/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IamSteele">IamSteele</a>:<br />Closeup on the first night. B&W in the Leeside neighborhood of Toronto.

  • Iced Line

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/591020830/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing">onthewing</a>:<br />Electrical line drooping across a neighbors driveway in Brampton during the Dec 22 2013 ice storm that hit southern Ont.

  • Apple tree branch

    Toothpick size branch

  • ice Storm

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Linda"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/616822574/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Linda">Ron Linda</a>:<br />The big one in Quispamsis, N.B.

  • Eastborne Park

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Standing Strong

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Maple Leaf in ice

  • Iced Cherry

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Frozen Cherries

  • Eastbourne Park, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Not a tree spared!

  • Frozen In Time, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Eastbourne Park, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Nite Shot

  • Ice Flowers ~ Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Crews clear branches snagged on power lines on a closed road in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • An arborist cuts a tree branch dangling from a power line in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • A pedestrian walks down a street still closed due to downed power lines and trees in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • Peel Region employee Dwayne Berrigan cuts fallen limbs from iced trees in Brampton,Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area, which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system, warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • Travelers line up after dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Passengers sleep on the floor in the check-in line as dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm, at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Got Game

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phil_Vriend"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1568910464/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phil_Vriend">Phil Vriend</a>:<br />The dolls on display at my neighbour's house also took a hit in the ice storm.

  • Workers from Stacey Electric, a Toronto Hydro subcontractor, work to repair downed power lines around Victoria Park and Denton Avenues in Scarborough on Dec. 23 after a severe ice storm hit Toronto.

  • A vehicle damaged by fallen tree branches is shown in the High Park area of Toronto on Dec. 23. A steady dose of freezing rain across parts of Eastern Canada turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

  • Fallen tree limbs are stacked up in the Urban Forestry Yard in Toronto on Dec.23. A steady dose of freezing rain across parts of Eastern Canada turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

  • It was his time. We all have to go some time.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Darryl_Nielsen"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Darryl_Nielsen">Darryl Nielsen</a>:<br />It was his time. We all have to go some time.

  • The icy hedge

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sunil_T"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100001296030346/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sunil_T">sunil T</a>:<br />An icy hedge in our neighborhood in Don Mills this morning.

  • A pedestrian walks under a tree blocking Wellesley Street East following an ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Power lines dangle on Sackville Street following an ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • A man pushes a stroller through an ice-covered street in Toronto, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, after a storm passed through the area.

  • Ice coats tree branches as a man walks on the sidewalk in Toronto , Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, after an ice storm passed through the area.

  • People clear the sidewalks on a closed off street in Toronto after an ice storm knocked down trees and power lines in much of the city on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013.

  • John Szücs scrapes ice off his car near Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, following ice storm.

  • Icicles hang from a downed power line on a residential street in Toronto as over 250,000 people face up to 72 hours without electricity after a storm brought heavy ice rain, on Sunday, December 22, 2013.

  • A man steps over downed power line near Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 following an ice storm.

  • Our tree in Brampton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100003975728308/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution">IdentityPollution</a>:<br />The ice storm tore our tree right in half.

  • Brampton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100003975728308/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution">IdentityPollution</a>:<br />Our street got hit hard

  • Kitchener

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/iiabbieii"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/iiabbieii">iiabbieii</a>:<br />Our tree sure took a beating

  • @scubafantoo

    @scubafantoo: <a href="https://twitter.com/scubafantoo/status/414775553385050112" target="_blank">#ONSTORM @StormhunterTWN @StormhunterTWN @vaughanweather @JdeQuebec Brampton, Ont! pic.twitter.com/XTHTnPjh1Z</a>

  • Lending A Helping Hand

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fitcheerldr"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/775930130/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fitcheerldr">fitcheerldr</a>:<br />The neighbourhood coming together to help clean up after the ice storm of 2013.

  • @LoveRadollCats

    @LoveRadollCats: <a href="https://twitter.com/LoveRadollCats/status/414808493439188992/photo/1" target="_blank">#icestorm2013 Kitchener Ontario pic.twitter.com/nAxYS8VEJ9</a>

  • @ar09

    @ar09: <a href="https://twitter.com/ar09/status/414803999263428609/photo/1" target="_blank">tree down in #icestorm2013 #darkTO #680storm #icestorm24 pic.twitter.com/zWV4wFRB9e</a>

  • ‏@elanacamille

  • ‏@fitcheerldr

    ‏@fitcheerldr: <a href="https://twitter.com/fitcheerldr/status/414795586630467585/photo/1" target="_blank">Here's a pic of our neighbourhood working together to clear the downed trees. pic.twitter.com/63qWGAVyTB</a>

  • @diego153

  • @MattBellissimo

    @MattBellissimo: <a href="https://twitter.com/MattBellissimo/status/414784624125308929/photo/1" target="_blank">Normally I'd blame lightning for something like this... pic.twitter.com/P3wX5lVUe2</a>

  • @randy_mcneil

  • Don Mills

  • Don Mills

  • Don Mills

  • @canuck10001

  • @cylonchloe

  • @cylonchloe

The drawback, of course, is public safety and arborial health repercussions: injuries and cracks from storm damage can create openings for insects and diseases to attack trees.

Forestry workers are prioritizing removing fallen and at-risk-of-falling branches on or near power lines first over cleaning up large-scale recreational areas, such as Toronto’s Discovery Walk — an 11-km long route connecting Belt Line Linear Park to the Don Valley’s wooded ravines.

Toronto has an estimated 10.2 million trees over 18,000 hectares, 40 per cent of which are situated on public property.

According to City of Toronto Parks Director Richard Ubbens, over 2,400 service requests have been made since Dec. 22. He adds his operational crews have been pulling 12-hour shifts; half working on hydro-related issues, the other half on clearing closed roads.

The scale of the ice storm damage has forced officials to hire additional contract crews, including Ontario Line Clearing and Davey and Weller Tree Service, to clean up city streets.

Most fallen branches are being fed through wood chippers, while medium-to-large limbs and stumps are being collected at the city’s Urban Forestry Yard. But just because trees have been encased with ice and frozen in slumped positions doesn’t mean they’re doomed for a wood-pulp fate.

“Mother Nature destroyed a lot of trees,” veteran Toronto Hydro forester David Knight told The Toronto Star. “But a lot of them will grow back again — will bring out new shoots.”

Toronto residents can contact Urban Forestry Services at 416-338-TREE (8733).

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