Preparing Trees for Florida Storms Part one: before the storm

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Preparing Trees for Florida Storms Part two: after the storm
September 27, 2019

Most people know Florida is prone to storms each year, many of these at the level of tornados, tropical storms and hurricanes. Wind strength can be tremendous, ranging from 30 miles an hour all the way to 140 + miles per hour. Trees often bear the brunt of powerful winds and, if not properly prepared (and sometimes even if they are) a tree will be badly damaged and possibly destroyed. And, unfortunately, when trees and or their limbs come down, it is frequently on someone’s home or vehicle. Trees in nature are designed to be trimmed by storms to keep the forest areas from becoming overcrowded and unable to let the sun in. In areas around homes, however, damage from trees is not the desired happening. But what can be done to help your trees withstand high winds? Here are some suggestions to consider if you have trees in your yard and landscape.

Trees need to be trimmed, so the wind passes through the canopy. Get rid of narrow crotches but be sure to leave enough strength bearing branches to support the canopy. You want to work with the trees natural form so as not to spoil the beauty of the tree.

  • Start with trimming away any damaged, dead, or diseased wood.
  • Cut off small branches that serve little purpose
  • To give a more balanced look shorten the branches in such a way there is an upward-pointing branch or a branch leading to one side of the other.
  • Remove by cutting the thin branches that shoot straight up from the center and base of the tree.
  • If limbs are crossing, cut away the limb crossing into the center of the tree.
  • Eliminate narrow forks in the branches as the smaller the fork, the more likely the branch will split.
  • Some trees, such as narrow palms, and young trees not yet having a strong trunk or deep roots, will need to be shored up with well-secured ropes.

All trees need to be checked, but the following trees have a history of problems with Florida’s high winds:

  • Shallow rooted trees: seaside mahoe, Australian pine, women’s tongue
  • Brittle branches: royal poinciana, African tulip, tree, ear tree, tropical almond, umbrella tree, avocado, eucalyptus, bischofia, earleaf acacia
  • Dense crown or branches: silk oak, sea hibiscus, bischofia,
  • V crotches: tulipwood

Keeping trees resilient to storms can be a lot of work which needs to be repeated every year, especially in the late summer, early fall hurricane season. If you have trouble preparing your trees for storms, there are professional tree service companies as well as most landscaping companies that can help. For example, Best Cut Lawn and Landscaping serving Ocala Florida and surrounding areas for over 25 years is prepared to help with small tree and shrub storm preparation. You can call them at (352) 216-0512 for a free estimate. A helpful receptionist will assist you in setting an appointment and answering or getting answers for any questions you might have. Part two of this blog will focus on what to do with trees after the storm has passed.