Preparing Trees for Florida Storms Part two: after the storm

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The storm has passed, and now you survey the damage, especially to the trees in your yard. Trees and shrubs may be knocked over, tilting to one side, or even uprooted. With quick action, you can usually save your damaged trees and shrubs. Here are some tips to keep in mind when the storm has passed:

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.

  • Always check to be sure there are no electrical wires anywhere near where you will be working. Electrical shocks can be fatal.
  • Check damaged trees for disease which may have weakened the tree making it a prime candidate for damage from strong winds. Damaged trees should be removed.
  • If you have a lot of damaged trees, it is best to try to save the healthiest and most valuable first. By value, it could mean not just monetarily but emotionally. For example, if you planted a special tree when you were first married and bought your first house, that tree would have great sentimental value.
  • Pack the roots of trees and shrubs you plan to reset to keep the roots from drying out. Burlap sacks are good for wrapping after you pack the roots with wet mud and sphagnum moss if you have it.
  • Prepare a hole big enough to reset the tree.
  • Trim away torn or damaged roots, any roots that are so long they will interfere with other trees that need resetting, and the deep taproot.
  • Prune the top and branches to be in proportion to the trimmed root ball. For example, if you took off 30% of the root ball, you need to trim back the tree 30%.
  • When you have raised the tree, pack dirt well into the hole and then give the tree a thorough watering to make sure there are no air holes.
  • If a great deal of the tree needed to be trimmed leaving trunk and branch ends exposed to sunlight, whitewash or paint with water-based latex paint to prevent sunburn which could further damage the tree.
  • Trees with trunks less than a diameter of 2 inches can be propped up to the first branches with a 2 by 4-inch stake. Larger trunked trees can be supported by guy wires attached to 45-degree angle stakes. Use a rubber hose around the tree where you put the guy wires to prevent the wire from cutting into the trunk.
  • Keep the tree well-watered; a deep watering at least once a week. Creating a trough around the base of the tree will help direct water into the roots.
  • Keep the tree well-watered; a deep watering at least once a week. Creating a trough around the base of the tree will help direct water into the roots.
  • Fertilize lightly from the trunk outward to just beyond where the branches extend to provide rich soil for the roots as they begin to grow and spread. Fertilize again when you notice new growth.
  • Trees that have been loosened but not fallen will need to have the dirt compacted and may need to be supported for a while until the roots have stabilized.
  • Loss of leaves will not damage the tree, but you may want to prune bare branches. This can be a good thing as it will encourage new growth. Whitewash or paint newly exposed areas.

Living in Florida it is very likely you will, at some point, need to take care of trees damaged by high winds. Quick and thorough repair and resetting should minimize the loss of trees and shrubs. Should you need the advice and help of professionals, and live in the Ocala, Florida area, Best Cut Lawn and Landscaping knows about repairing trees and shrubs after a storm. They have been in business for over 25 years, so have had lots of experience. Their phone number is (352) 216-0512.

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