Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Is your landscape storm-ready? (Part 1)

This week's blog was written by guest blogger Jane Morse.  Jane Morse is the Pinellas County Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent.  This is part one of a three-part series.

Part 1: Wind Resistant Trees for Your Landscape

When it comes to trees and storms, there are victims and there are survivors.  The question to ask yourself before the next – inevitable – big Florida storm is: Will your tree survive or will it come crashing down on your roof?

Trees have a lot to contend with during storms. High winds snap them and break off branches.  Rain loosens the soil, making it harder for the roots to hold them up.  And the longer it takes for storms to move through an area, the more water accumulates in the soil and the more battering the trees take.

A tree’s survival comes down to whether it is resistant to wind, if it is properly planted and pruned, has enough space for its root system, and is in good health.  Trees with these properties can help to protect your home during a storm.  Or at least minimize damage.  Here are some things to consider when adding new trees to your landscape:

That some trees are naturally more resistant to wind has been shown by surveying those still standing after hurricanes.  They include southern magnolia, yaupon holly, dahoon holly, podocarpus, crape myrtle, pondcypress and baldcypress.  Palms in this category include pindo, areca, Alexander and sabal.  You can find a more comprehensive list at:

According to the University of Florida's "Trees and Hurricanes," some of the weaker trees are ash, maple, water oaks, pecan, tulip poplar, Bradford pear, southern red oak, Australian pine, floss-silk tree, weeping banyan, silk oak and jacaranda.

Next week: Part 2, Planting Wind Resistant Trees in Your Landscape

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