It’s wise to prepare for a storm

Tree Damage to Home from Hurricane Ivan. Photo Credit: Larry Williams

Tree Damage to Home from Hurricane Ivan. Photo Credit: Larry Williams

Tropical storm season officially ends November 30. I’m not predicting a storm but even with our average winds during a typical thunderstorm, you’d be wise to prepare.

Falling trees and flying landscape debris during a storm can cause damage. Evaluate your landscape for potential tree hazards. Pruning or removing trees once a hurricane watch has been announced is risky and tree trimming debris left along the street is hazardous.

Now is a good time to remove dead or dying trees and to prune decayed or dead branches Also inspect trees for signs of disease or insect infestation that may further weaken them.

Professional help sometimes is your best option when dealing with larger jobs. Property damage could be reduced by having a professional arborist evaluate unhealthy, injured or questionable trees to assess risk and treat problems.

Hiring a certified arborist can be a worthwhile investment. To find a certified arborist in your area contact the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) at 217-355-9411 or at www.isa-arbor.com. You also may contact the Florida Chapter of ISA at 941-342-0153 or at www.floridaisa.org.

Consider removing trees that have low wind resistance, are at the end of their life span or that have potential to endanger lives or property. For example, laurel oaks are relatively short-lived, usually showing considerable dieback as they reach 50 years. They tend to lose their strength and stability faster than most other oaks and have low wind resistance. Consider removing a big, old laurel oak within falling distance of your home before the next storm.

Tree species with the lowest wind resistance include pecan, tulip poplar, cherry laurel, Bradford pear, southern red oak, laurel oak, water oak, Chinese tallow, Chinese elm, southern red cedar, Leyland cypress, sand pine and spruce pine.

Pine species vary in their wind resistance, usually with longleaf and slash pines showing better survival rates than loblolly and sand pine. However, when pines become large, they may cause damage if located close to homes or other valuable structures.

For more information on this topic, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Office in your County or visit http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu.

Plant Clinic

A plant clinic will be held Friday, September 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Fort Walton Beach at the Okaloosa County Extension building, 127 W. Hollywood Boulevard.

The plant clinic is designed to provide a place and time for people to bring in samples of plants for diagnosis, including weeds for identification.

Bring to the plant clinic a fresh sample of the weed, plant, insect, etc. This may include a plant stem with several leaves, a 4-inch square of grass with roots attached, etc. You may also bring a sample of your soil for pH testing.

Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent, Okaloosa County, September 2, 2015

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