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Hurricane Season Tree Tips

Planting trees around your home is a great way to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. The shade that they provide can shave dollars off of your home cooling costs in the summer. UCNSB encourages smart landscaping such as large shade trees to help conserve our energy and water resources. As hurricane season begins, we’d like to share some ways that you can keep your trees storm-ready.

Hurricanes have the potential to cause many problems for Florida residents. Each year, the beginning of hurricane season is met with apprehension and a flurry of preparation. We stock up on supplies such as generators, batteries and flashlights. We design a plan for our families to follow in the event of an evacuation. Those who have experienced these storms first-hand know the value of being prepared. The same is true in regard to the trees surrounding your home.

There isn’t a magical reason why some trees fall over during a storm and others don’t. Or why large limbs fall onto houses or vehicles and others withstand hurricanes unscathed. There are manageable factors that contribute to a tree’s resilience and steps that can be taken throughout their growth to make them stronger. The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council’s website offers maintenance guidelines that will help your trees make it through hurricane season – we’ve summarized them below.

Photo of tree being trimmed with a chainsaw
Tree Health

Paying attention to the vitality of the trees on your property is something that must be done year-round. Be sure that they receive adequate water and mulch around the base if needed to preserve moisture  Watch for common problems such as parasites or insects that can undermine them from the inside out. Healthy trees are naturally more likely to bounce back from the thrashing winds of a hurricane.

Proper Pruning

It is wise to have your trees evaluated and pruned by a certified arborist before hurricane season. Cutting back unhealthy or overgrown branches prevents damage to the tree. It can also protect your home as well as your neighborhood from tree limbs turning into projectiles during high winds.

UCNSB urges all local residents to contact our office prior to the trimming of any trees on your property that are close to power lines. We will drop the power line while the work is completed and then rehang the line at no charge to the property owner. We are happy to offer our assistance to ensure your safety or that of tree service workers. If the tree is on the public right of way, we will dispatch our own tree trimmers to the site to fix any issues.

Cabling and Bracing

According to the experts, trees with multiple trunks, large limbs or co-dominant stems are particularly vulnerable to wind damage. A certified arborist or landscaping company will be able to advise the best use of these tools.

In coastal communities like New Smyrna Beach, sandy soil adds an additional factor that can cause the trees in your yard to get uprooted during hurricanes. Even several miles inland, homeowners’ yards can be made up of highly granular soil. This makes it difficult for certain varieties of trees to gain a foothold. Species with inadequate root systems aren’t able to withstand strong winds. Selecting the right species of tree based on the type of soil in your yard can make a huge difference.

In short, the best way to prepare for hurricane season is to plan ahead. With all of the other preparations to be done at the start of June each year, it is wise to do as much in advance as possible. While there are a few steps of tree fortification that can wait until the summer arrives, others require ongoing attention. Spending a little time focusing on your shade trees throughout the year can help to prevent home damage, downed power lines or hefty bills for the cutting and removal of downed trees when a storm arrives.