Preparing Your Landscape for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season starts June 1st. You are probably aware of preparations you need to make inside the home, but what do you need to do in your landscape?  Survey your property now and look for things that may be an issue such as:
  • Flooding
  • Erosion
  • Wind directions
  • Tree failure (and the potential impacts to your property)
Live oak canopy

Live oak, Photo credit: A. Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

1. Prune trees PROPERLY

To prune or not to prune, that is the question.  First and foremost, properly planted and maintained trees are the best defense against any potential hurricane damage. But, if it has been a while since you pruned your trees, make sure that you follow this checklist:

Be wary of services willing to “hurricane prune” your trees and palms! Always contact a Certified Arborist and make sure any pruning does NOT include toppingtipping, or lion-tailing.

Cabbage Palm

Cabbage palm. Photo credit: A. Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

Palms must be pruned properly as well.ONLY remove dead leaves (completely brown) and never prune above the 3:00 and 9:00 hands on a clock.  For more information on properly pruning palms go here.

This blog post from UF/IFAS Extension Monroe County is really helpful in determining how and when to prune your trees before a hurricane.

2. Clean gutters
Really, this is important before the start of the rainy season anyway. Make sure that your gutters are clean and clear so that when large rainfall events occur water can flow freely.
3. Make a plan for potted plants 
…and other objects around your yard. Where and how will you secure them if needed?

4. Anchor and/or brace outdoor structures and consider how to deal with potential wind damage to solid fencing.
Can you remove any panels from your solid fence so that wind can move through?
5. Take photos and document your property before the storm.

For more information on preparing your landscape for a hurricane, cleaning up your landscape after a hurricane, or selecting wind resistant trees for your landscape, contact us.

There is a lot of very helpful information on the UF/IFAS woody landscape plants website. Just select “trees” and you will find information on everything from tree selection to design and pruning.

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