Preparing Your Trees for Hurricane Season
It’s time to get a hurricane-ready. Hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, is upon us. Often the first thing we do before a storm is stock up on essential supplies. Then we make sure our homes and families are protected. But we should also think about securing our source of shade and scenery—trees.
Trees are susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms. If a hurricane is categorized as a 4 or 5, the strongest categories, there is not much we can do to “prepare” trees for the event. If a hurricane is a category 1-3 or reduced to a tropical storm, there are ways that homeowners and property managers can lessen the potential damage to trees.
- Choose quality trees, labeled “Florida Fancy” or “Florida #1.” These trees develop a single trunk and need little additional training to form a structurally sound
- Choose trees that are suitable for the Large trees that need a sizeable rooting zone. Tree roots extend three to five times the diameter of the tree’s canopy!
- Insufficient soil volume raises the risk of trees toppling. If the planting area or yard is small, choose a tree species that naturally stays, take into account the mature height and width of the tree when choosing the planting site.
How a tree is pruned is critical to its overall health and longevity. Formative or structural pruning can strengthen a tree. It is best performed when the tree is young, during its first ten years. The branches are easier to reach, but the resulting wounds to the tree will be much smaller and callus over more rapidly.
Tips And Tricks Of Good Pruning Practices When Hurricane Prepping
- Avoid “lion tailing” or “over lifting,” which consists of removing side branches from a large branch, leaving only those at the far end, resulting in limbs resembling a lion’s tail.
- Never cut a branch flush with the trunk, which is also known as making a flush cut.
- Avoid root pruning and digging around tree roots. This makes the tree more likely to fall during a storm.
- Never “hat rack” or “top” a tree! It is illegal and potentially dangerous.
- Don’t remove more than 25% of the canopy in a single pruning event. Palm trees don’t need hurricane pruning. Palms adapt to wind storms. Removing fronds has no benefit and is detrimental.
- When pruning, only use removal cuts (prune a branch back to the trunk or parent branch) or reduction cuts (shortens the length of a stem by pruning back to a smaller limb)
Trees can survive more than 100 years! They can withstand hurricanes and storms, but they cannot survive human errors such as inappropriate tree selection, poor planting, and deficient pruning. For more information, contact our office at (305) 823-2345 Miami-Dade and 954-436-9111 in Broward.
The Atlantic hurricane season is the annual period when hurricanes typically form in the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, Miami-Dade County is geographically extremely vulnerable to this hurricane activity, giving our County the nickname “Hurricane Country.” Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, peaking sharply in late August through September. Hurricanes are classified on a scale of 1 to 5, based on wind speed and the potential for damage and loss of life.
Category 1 is the weakest, and 5 is the strongest and most dangerous. It is critical for South Florida residents to know how to prepare for a hurricane.
Resources and References: