Prepare trees for hurricane season

Many of us are more guarded this hurricane season due to our experience with “Matthew” last year.


One preparation for storms most people neglect is tree maintenance. Trees can be made storm-ready just as your home and other real property can be.

If you think about what occurs during a storm, you can better appreciate how to make a tree storm ready.

Two primary components of a storm are wind and rain. The rain generally occurs first, saturating the soil and making the tree less stable.

Wind follows the rain, putting pressure on the tree’s canopy. The more pressure applied by the wind, the more likely a tree is to pitch and possibly blow over.

It seems reasonable that if you can reduce the effect of rain and/or wind on a tree, the more stable it will be in a storm.

It is not likely that one can control the amount of rain that will saturate the ground a tree is growing in.

You can reduce the amount of wind pressure a tree canopy will sustain, however, making it less likely to blow over. This is accomplished by reducing the density of the tree’s canopy.

Most people allow trees to grow as they may, which allows for a thick dense canopy.

Pruning a tree to reduce its canopy by opening it up will allow winds to blow through it as opposed to bombarding and pushing on it.

This is particularly true of oak trees.

Oak trees are popular with developers and landscapers because they receive maximum tree credits in areas where there are landscaping ordinances.

Shade trees like the oaks get high marks. The other issue with landscape ordinances is that they require a tree every so many feet so that trees are individually spaced along a property.

Observational research from post-storm evaluations indicate that trees planted in groups fare better in strong winds than individually set trees.

While you can’t correct the positioning of a tree in your landscape, you can have pruning done to reduce the density of a tree’s canopy.

By opening up the canopy, you will allow winds to blow through the tree reducing the likelihood of it lifting in a storm.

Q I have a sago palm that sent out its new growth which subsequently turned brown and frizzled up. I

know this is caused by a nutrient deficiency but can’t remember if it is magnesium or manganese that

is lacking?

A ‘Frizzle top’ on a sago palm is caused by a lack on manganese. Apply a supplement of manganese

sulfate to correct the problem.

Q I have a small quarter-circle bed along my home and patio. It stays inundated with snails. Is there a

natural way to get them under control?

A You can place beer traps in the area in which they will be drawn to and drown. Make a pit using a tuna

fish can and then fill with beer. Snails are slow but they love to party and can’t resist free beer. You can

then place a copper mesh along the open edge of the bed which snails and slugs will not cross for their

slime reacts with copper.