We often remember what to do inside our homes to prepare for hurricane season. But what about the outside? Preparing your yard for strong storms can have a profound effect on how well your property fares.
And now is a good time to get ready.
Trim Trees – But Not All
Common Florida species – such as oaks, willows and maples – have shallow roots and can topple more easily when high winds shake trees that are suddenly sitting in rain-soaked soil. Trim away dead and unruly limbs to mitigate that danger while reducing the chances that limbs will break and fly into your property. That said, don’t waste time and energy pruning non-fruit bearing palms that are designed to withstand rain and wind. They prune themselves. Falling fronds are lightweight and can’t do much, if any, damage. (This does not include coconut trees, whose fruit can become like cannonballs in high winds.)
Landscape for Mitigation
What does that mean? Plant new trees away from your house and power lines. Choose wind resistant species, like most palms. Plant in groups to increase wind resistance. And don’t overwater trees. That makes their roots go deeper into soil to seek water so they can stand stronger against winds.
Scale Back Hanging Plants and Patio Furniture
While many know to secure or move inside hanging plants and patio furniture when a storm is imminent, it’s also a good idea to decrease the number of items you have outside as summer approaches. These hotter months may be calling you inside anyway. Severe storms can cause such items to become flying projectiles. No one wants to be moving so many pieces of furniture and a larger number of plants in and out of the house as worrisome forecasts arise. So reduce what’s outside now and save yourself some work when you see meteorologists begin to go into overdrive.
Turn Off Irrigation Timers
This is an easy one. As those meteorologists’ voices start racing and their faces go flush – when a storm may be a day or two away – turn off your irrigation system timers. If a storm hits, you’ll get plenty of rain.
A common misconception is that solid privacy fences are hurricane-resistant because they block the wind. But that’s their flaw. Built-up wind resistance will eventually push down the fence. On the other hand, slatted fences allow air to pass through with ease, which means slatted fences are less likely to tip over from high winds. If you already have a privacy fence, make sure the posts are strong and the panels are well-connected and maintained.