What can I do to prepare my trees for hurricane season?

Trees for Energy Conservation April 27, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

Trees can be damaged or even lost during a hurricane. The strong winds and heavy rains of a hurricane can cause problems for trees, especially those with poor branch structure. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you can take action to reduce the risk of hurricane damage.

 

The most important factor is good tree vigor. Keep your trees happy and healthy with proper mulching, fertilization (as per soil test results) and watering in times of drought. A vigorous tree is less likely to receive damage and better able to overcome any damage that does occur.

Proper pruning is also important to help avoid or reduce major damage to your tree. Have your tree's branch structure evaluated and pruned by a certified arborist before the hurricane season. Proper pruning today can help to avoid broken limbs tomorrow and may help to prevent total loss when a hurricane comes.

Cabling and bracing may also be appropriate in trees with multiple trunks, large limbs or co-dominant stems. These are structural features of a tree that are particularly likely to fail in high-wind events.

All of these things should be done over the lifetime of the tree, not just before a hurricane.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.