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GardenSMART :: Be Prepared for Hurricane Season

Be Prepared for Hurricane Season

By Davey Tree Expert Company
Photograph courtesy of Davey Tree Expert Company

If you live in an area where tornadoes or hurricanes happen, you already know how important it is to prep early. With little to no notice, these severe storms roll in with fierce winds. And after they're gone, they can leave behind devastating destruction and billions of dollars in damage. 

To keep your home safe and minimize damage, prep before the season starts.

Trees maintained throughout the year are stronger. Healthy trees can hold their ground in almost any weather, especially heavy winds and downpours. Every proactive step you take now can reduce wreckage, costs and risk later on.

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3 Storm Prep Steps

Before you begin prepping, know that some trees can weather severe storms better than others. It all depends on the tree – and storm – you have. Your tree's durability depends on its species, age and health, and structure. Plus, the storm's speed, wind intensity and the amount of precipitation also influence whether your tree will survive.

You can help trees better endure vicious winds and intense rain with these 3 steps below.

  1. Prudent to Prune. Have your trees inspected for risks by a professional arborist. A certified expert knows exactly what structural issues pose a risk and can be fixed by pruning. By pruning before the storm, you reduce the chances of downed limbs - or worse, trees that break, uproot or fall.

    This way, you lessen the chances of property damage. Specifically, pruning trees before hurricanes and tornadoes:

    1. Decreases wind resistance by creating a stronger tree structure by opening up the canopy.
    2. Reduces fallen branches by removing dead, diseased and weak branches.
    3. Keeps your home safe by removing limbs that are too close to your home.

  2. Calmly Cable. Your arborist will also look for weak branches, V-shaped limbs or split trunks that need extra support to weather high winds and rain. By strategically installing flexible steel strand cables and heavy bolts, your tree becomes stronger.

    When cabled, trees are less likely to break suddenly during high winds and often live longer. Trees will also better handle the heavy weight of snow, ice and dense foliage year-round.

  3. Boost the Roots. Trees with healthier roots are more likely to survive hurricanes or tornadoes. To improve your trees' root system, regularly feed your trees. When you deliver essential nutrients right to the root zone, your trees become better anchored and healthier overall. In addition to fertilizing, water your trees deeply when needed and keep them mulched.

    Mulch helps tree roots better retain water while also providing nutrients as the mulch breaks down. Plus, mulch helps reduce weeds around trees, which attempt to steal your trees' water and nutrients.

Hurricane or Tornado Resistant Trees

While no tree is storm proof, native trees typically survive storms better than exotic, imported trees. Native trees have been growing in the region for thousands of years, have stood the test of time and know how to weather your area's storms.

Also, trees grouped together in sets of five or more, rather than lone trees, fare intense storms better. Keep this in mind when planting new trees.

Hurricanes and tornadoes are unpredictable, intense storms. The higher the wind speed, the more likely trees will fail. Once hurricanes reach a category 3 or tornadoes reach a level F2, research shows their 115-150 mph wind speeds can uproot or destroy a tree - no matter how well prepared you are.

Once a storm subsides, make it a priority to check landscape trees. Keeping trees healthy, pruned and structurally sound helps minimize accidents before the storm. Although defective trees are dangerous, not all of them need to be removed immediately, and some defects can be treated to prolong the life of the tree.

Ask a certified arborist about a tree's risk level. Hiring an unqualified arborist will cost homeowners in the long run, since it will hurt home values and may involve purchasing a costly new tree. If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

With nearly 9,500 employees throughout North America, The Davey Tree Expert Company provides solutions for residential, utility, commercial and government clients. Rooted in research, the company's vision is to achieve balance among people, progress and the environment. Tree experts since 1880, Davey provides diversified tree services, grounds maintenance, and environmental services. Celebrating 40 years of employee ownership, Davey is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the U.S. and is headquartered in Kent, Ohio. Want to join us? Discover your Davey career, and apply today.


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