With the recent snows followed by rain we have seen many plants straining under the weight of it all. It is only natural to want to go out and “help” your plants. Some limbs will break under the weight while others can naturally bend quite a distance. In attempting to remove snow, we may do more harm than good. It is possible to break limbs and branches in the process, depending on your removal technique. When ice accumulation is the issue, I never recommend removing it. You most surely will damage the plant in the process. It is better to let it melt off naturally.
If this is an ongoing problem, it is best to prepare your plants prior to winter. Try tying individual stems together with twine or soft cloth to prevent individual branches from splitting open. Cedars, arborvitae and some junipers will benefit from this approach. Another is to determine if the accumulation is caused by man-made structures such as a poorly-placed or damaged downspout or gutter. Also consider moving the plant in the spring to avoid future problems.