Hurricane season is a time when many people in the Southern United States prepare for possible storms. This usually means boarding up windows, filling sandbags, and getting supplies ready. However, one important preparation for hurricanes that is often overlooked is preparing trees.
The first thing to understand is why you should prepare your trees. Trees can cause a lot of damage in high winds. They can fall on houses, cars, and people. They can also damage power lines and cause blackouts. In hurricane-prone areas, trees are one of the leading causes of damage during a storm. The tips in this post will help minimize storm damage to landscaping and buildings.
The next thing to understand is when hurricane season is. Hurricane season typically runs from June to November, but the peak months are August and September.
When to Prepare Trees
You should start preparing your trees for hurricane season in the months prior – in early spring or during the tree species dormant season. Don’t start preparing trees after a hurricane watch or after a hurricane warning has been issued.
Who Should Prepare Trees
You can prepare trees yourself if they are small.
You should hire a certified arborist if the trees are tall or if you are not comfortable preparing them. Improper cutting and pruning can do more harm than good during a hurricane.
How to Prepare Trees – Choosing Landscaping
The best way to prepare your landscape is to choose trees that are wind resistant. The most hurricane-proof plants are those with a wide base, such as royal palms, sabal palms, and cabbage palms.
Wind resistant trees also have flexible branches, such as willows and poplars. You should avoid evergreen trees, which are more likely to snap in high winds. The trunk of a tree should be at least 12 inches in diameter for wind resistance.
You should consider planting trees in groups instead of planting single trees. Make sure to space the trees properly so that they have room to grow. Plant trees in groups of three or more for stability. Space them evenly so that they can support each other when the wind blows.
They need adequate rooting space and should be at least 20 feet away from any power lines or structures. They also need proper spacing from sidewalks, driveways, and other hard surfaces.
Trees with a codominant trunk system are more likely to split in half during hurricane-force winds. To avoid this, remove one of the trunks or install guy wires to stabilize the tree.
Planting the right tree in the right place is the best way to protect against strong winds and reduce potential damage.
How to Prepare Trees – Tree Trimming and Pruning
Healthy trees with healthy branches can withstand hurricane-force winds. Pruning and trimming your trees before hurricane season will help them stay healthy and resist damage during a storm.
Pruning is the process of removing damaged or dead branches from a tree. Young trees should be pruned to create structural stability. This will help them withstand hurricane-force winds when they are older.
Branches that are broken or have cracks, splits, or other damage should be removed. Dead branches, called deadwood, should also be removed, as well as loose branches. These can break off and cause damage during hurricanes.
Dead fronds should also be removed from palm trees. This will help the tree withstand high winds. Having a dense canopy can also make a palm tree more wind resistant.
Trees should be pruned so that they are symmetrical and balanced. The crown, or top of the tree, should be narrower than the bottom. This will help the tree resist toppling in high winds.
Decayed bark, weak branches, and V-shaped crotches are also signs of a weak tree. These should be removed before hurricane season.
How to Prepare Trees – Wrapping
Wrapping a tree is another way to protect it from hurricane damage. You can use hurricane straps or hurricane tape to wrap the tree. This will help keep the tree together if it falls.
After a hurricane, it is important to clean up the tree debris. This includes fallen trees, branches, and leaves. An exposed root ball is a sign that the tree has been uprooted. Uprooted trees should be removed immediately.
You should also remove any damaged trees. You can consult a certified arborist to see if the tree can be saved.
Overall Hurricane Preparedness
Trees can cause a lot of damage during hurricanes. By following the tips in this post, you can minimize storm damage to your property. Make sure to always be prepared for hurricane season. Have a plan in place and know what to do when a hurricane is headed your way. Stay safe and be prepared!