The job of getting a tree ready for hurricane season starts the day it is planted.
Avoid planting the tree under power lines, which can be damaged when limbs fall on them or brush against them.
Plant small trees closer to a house for shade rather than planting large trees, which are more hazardous in a storm, even if they are planted farther away.
After the tree is planted, it requires ongoing pruning to keep it up to the task of hurricane survival and to avoid having to take drastic measures to get it into wind-resistant shape.
Overpruned trees can grow top-heavy or unbalanced. Mainly interior branches and dead or diseased wood should be removed. Use a certified arborist.
As a storm approaches, coconuts and dead palm fronds should be removed to keep from becoming missiles.
Palms should not have all their fronds removed: This can make the tree unhealthy and more prone to snapping.
While there are no guarantees when it comes to trees and hurricanes, some trees are more resistant to hurricanes than others.
Here’s a list:
Good: Most palm trees, magnolia, crepe myrtle, lignum vitae, live oak, tamarind, geiger tree, mango.
Bad: Ficus, earleaf acacia, tabebuia, citrus trees, carrotwood, royal poinciana, banyan, sea hibiscus, eucalyptus, Norfolk pine.
A tree’s survival in a storm depends on how well its root structure is developed, the wetness of the ground and the health of the tree.
The University of Florida has more information about how to prepare trees for hurricane season and what to do after the storm at its website: hort.ifas.ufl.edu/treesandhurricanes.