The recent cold weather and ice caught a lot of people unaware. It seemed to appear suddenly and stay for a l-o-n-g time. The best action you can take is to have a PLAN! If you plan ahead, you will not have to worry about liability and/or damage.
We will give you an example of the ERT (Emergency Response Team) plan which GTL uses for its commercial customers and HOAs. Copy it, amend it or call GTL to help you be prepared.
(1) Pre order and store adequate quantities of a product called ice melt which will help reduce ice build up. (2) Keep equipment, tools and staff on hand and alert when an ice/snow/storm event is anticipated (3) Develop a communication plan (who is on call, who notifies, who stays available) (4) Be prepared to have staff/materials/equipment in close proximity to the site you are monitoring (5) Be prepared to visit the site with staff/materials several times (6) Anticipate clean up needed and post storm action
As they say in the Scouts............Be Prepared
Regarding damage: It depends, It is possible to cover landscape materials/plants in sub freezing weather, but in large quantities, it is not always possible. Freeze damage can appear for up to 9-12 months (!) following the freeze. This vascular damage really shows up in the heat and stress of the summer. Freeze cloth is a good material for pots and small areas. Heaters are sometimes utilized in courtyards and amenity areas for delicate materials as well. Not always practical though!