Can you give me a list of trees which fare better in storms?

First, the faster growing trees often have the weakest limb attachments which is the reason so many people choose live oaks.  I am going to provide you with a list of trees for this area which start with the highest wind resistance going down to lowest.  I would choose those in the high to medium category and totally avoid the low resistance.

​I would not recommend a water or laurel oak as replacements.  ​It is also significant to provide sufficient root areas for these trees – some prefer as much as 200 square feet of root space (live oaks). Often, we make the mistake of not providing tree roots enough non-competing room.

In addition, just a few more best management practices:

  • It is a poor practice to plant lawn grass on top of tree roots, keep grass as far away from trees as possible. A significant number of uprooted trees during Matthew and Irma, (aside from those in a tornado) had grass planted up to the trunk.
  • Never allow mulch to touch the trunk of any tree or shrub.
  • Keep woody ornamental plants a significant distance from the trunk, consider the mature width of the shrub and tree.
  • The older the tree the less it likes areas around the roots to be disturbed.
  • Over pruning to “raise the canopy” for lawn grass (really?!), topping, lion’s tailing, leaving stubs after pruning are all terrible practices. These practices make the tree susceptible to limb breakage. ​​

​​Highest wind resistance for North Florida:

Carya floridana, Florida scrub hickory; Conocarpus erectus, buttonwood; Ilex cassine, dahoon holly; Lagerstroemia indica, crape myrtle; Magnolia grandiflora, southern magnolia; Podocarpus spp, podocarpus; Quercus virginiana, live oak; Quercus geminata, sand live oak; Taxodium ascendens, pondcypress; ​Taxodium distichum, baldcypress; Butia capitata, pindo or jelly; Livistona chinensis, Chinese fan; Phoenix canariensis, Canary Island date; Phoenix dactylifera, date; and Sabal palmetto, cabbage, sabal. ​

Medium to high:

Acer palmatum, Japanese maple; Betula nigra, river birch; Carpinus caroliniana, ironwood; Carya glabra, pignut hickory; Carya tomentosa, mockemut hickory; Cercis canadensis, red bud; Chionanthus virginicus, fringe tree; Diospyros virginiana, common persimmon; Fraxinus americana, white ash; Liquidambar styraciflua, sweetgum; Magnolia virginiana, sweetbay magnolia; Magnolia x soulangiana, saucer magnolia; Ostrya virginiana, American hophombeam; Prunus angustifolia, chickasaw plum; Quercus michauxii, swamp chestnut; Quercus shumardii, Shumard oak; Quercus stellata, post oak; Ulmus alata, winged elm.