Proper Preparations: Trees and Severe Weather

Wayne Hobbs Environmental Horticulture Agent
Posted 6/13/18

PENNEY FARMS – We are now two weeks into the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season and have already had our tastes of our first effects from a tropical system. While the effects may have been somewhat …

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Proper Preparations: Trees and Severe Weather

Posted

PENNEY FARMS – We are now two weeks into the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season and have already had our tastes of our first effects from a tropical system. While the effects may have been somewhat mild, we are likely to have some major wind events this year and now is the time to think about what your trees may need to be prepared for in the event of severe weather.

Keep Your Trees Healthy

One of the biggest keys in making sure your trees can survive major wind events is to maintain their health. To do so, monitor for major issues such as large wounds, holes with sawdust from beetles, mushroom growth from the trunk or base, or branch die-back can all be signs a tree is having issues.

You should also work to protect your trees from damage. Wounds and breaking can make the tree more vulnerable to pests or disease. Even the roots can be damaged through either cutting or compaction, often caused by traffic or placement of heavy materials over the root zone.

Mature, established trees rarely need extra irrigation or fertilizer.

Pruning

Pruning can help in the ability of a tree to survive wind events as well. Thinning of the canopy can be done on your non-palms, allowing wind to pass through easier and removing weight from the top of the tree. This should be done by cutting out any dead branches, those that are growing inwards or crossing other branches, and some that attach at a narrow angle, making them more likely to split.

Make sure all of your cuts are made with properly sharpened tools and are done properly. For more information on making good pruning cuts, see http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/pruning-cuts.shtml.

Also, make sure to be safe when pruning by protecting yourself with long sleeves, long plants, sturdy closed toe shoes, safety glasses, gloves and head protection. Be especially careful if you need to use ladders or power tools. If you are unsure if you can properly handle the job, hire an aborist.

With palms, you can remove brown fronds if you would like, but leave everything that is green or even partially green. This is where they store their energy and pruning green fronds makes the tree susceptible to pests and more likely to be damaged during storms.

Hazard Trees

Do you have any trees that make you nervous? It is time to contact an arborist. Arborists have specialized training in the care of trees and many operate services where they can evaluate, care for, and remove trees if needed. Arborists who have a Risk Assessment endorsement have gone even further with courses so they can expertly analyze the hazards that are present from a specimen.

To find your local arborists, visit www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist/.

If you have any horticultural, agricultural, 4-H, or family and consumer science questions, contact the University of Florida/IFAS Clay County Extension Office online at http://www.clay.ifas.ufl.edu or call by phone at (904) 284-6355.

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