Don’t Leaf It To Chance: How To Prepare Trees For Hurricanes

Hurricanes can be devastating, but some of the damage can be avoided if the surrounding trees and foliage are maintained. If they aren't, dead branches can come down, trees could be pulled out by their roots, and your house, car and other belongings could be at risk. 

So how can you prepare your trees for hurricane season? Here are five helpful tips. 

Don't Ever Top a Tree

Topping a tree, which is when it's pruned back to a point when it has almost no leaves, is illegal in Florida and other locations where hurricanes can hit, because it causes the tree to rot from the inside. The branches that grow out as a result of topping the tree aren't as strong, and they can break off and become projectiles. If a topped tree is on your property, consider having it removed or cut down to a stump. 

Thin Out Thick Canopies

While topping a tree is illegal in some places, thinning canopies is a good idea. Don't remove more than a third of the tree's crown. You want to thin it without causing rot or death, which removing more than that can cause. 

Prune for Strength

You can prune your tree for strength by removing multi-trunks, which results in a tree that grows one solid middle leading trunk. If the tree has dead branches, remove those before the storm hits to reduce the chance of projectiles in the air. 

Avoid Removing Healthy, Thick Limbs

Contrary to what you might think, thick limbs are actually safer than smaller branches. If the limbs are cut when they're larger, they're also open to more pruning wounds. Consider this: If you get a scratch, you heal without much risk of infection. If you get a laceration that goes deeper, you're more likely to have complications. The same is true for a tree. Small branches breaking off are more like small cuts, while larger branches being removed leave gouges. 

Don't Touch Palm Trees

Finally, if you have palm trees, don't prune them in preparation for a hurricane. These trees are already adapted to windy storms and aren't likely to cause problems. They have few branches and basically have only large leaves that are safe even in the event of a hurricane. You can remove the coconuts and seeds before a hurricane, though. 

These are just a few tips for making your area safer during hurricane season by taking care of your local trees. Contact a company like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc. for more tips.