Tree Preparation for Hurricanes

We all know South Florida is a hurricane prone region. We enjoy having beautiful properties and trees but it comes along with a price every hurricane season. We decided to talk to South Florida’s very own One Two Tree Company Arborist Rick Barocas to shed some light on tree preparation for hurricanes.

Preparation with regards to trees has a lot to do with keeping trees in proportion.So that the height of the tree, the width or spread of a tree canopy is balanced with the size of the trunk more often then not following hurricanes and bad storms.

Not even hurricanes but just strong wind events that we have here through out the rainy and summer season. Trees blow over and up root, come out of the ground and fall over because the canopy of the tree if it has not been pruned in some period of time or certainly not pruned properly it offers so much resistance that the tree is going to give before the wind blow through it.

So with enough wind pressure those trees are literally lifted or torned out of the ground.

ficus trees in coral gables

Ficus Trees in Coral Gables

Ficus Trees in South Florida

One of the most popular trees in South Florida is the family of Ficus Tree.

Ficus Trees are notorious for not having good anchoring roots.

They have a lot over roots but they all spread across the surface or just under the surface but they don’t anchor and secure the tree to the ground.

In the event of the wet storm in particular more than then just a dry storm (just the wind).

In an event of a wet storm where the ground becomes saturated then it’s loosening the soil surrounding the roots so it’s even worse.

Very often after storms you will see large Ficus Trees lying down with their roots up in the air where they just fallen over.

Are your trees hurricane ready?

Preparation should be in most cases opening up the trees thinning them out. In addition to their primary branches they have the ability to fill in the gaps between branches by sprouting unnecessary branches.

In an area where they don’t have storms to deal with no big deal but in an area like this all of that extra density can add to that sail effect of the wind blowing against the tree creating kind of a sail that pushes them over.

 Maintenance Pruning

What we call maintenance pruning is a necessary evil.With especially larger trees; larger canopies to thin them out open them up and allow the wind to blow through them.

Over Pruning which is sadly commonly done by inexperienced and unqualified so called professionals as well as homeowners can be as dangerous as not pruning at all.

Because if you take too much out of a tree then the wind blowing against the few branches that are left in kind of logical theory you’d think it will just blow right across it and no big deal.

Tree Pruning Studies by the University of Florida

What happens what’s been proven actually by studies the University of Florida has done and they have video of this they have tree farms up in the northern part of the state where they setup large fans, airplane engines almost like airboat motors.

That blow wind at high velocity against the trees and they have done different degrees of pruning to show that of course not enough pruning is dangerous as too much.

Because when you thin out a tree so much then a particular branch that has wind blowing against it, will bend to the point where it will break. But if you maintain some other branches, secondary branches attached to that primary one they offer balance they offer a dampening effect when the wind is blowing a branch in one direction having a branch growing off it in the other direction kind of pulls it back and helps the reaction.

You have no pruning or you have over pruning both extremes not good, you need a professional to look at the tree, evaluate and make decisions on which branches can come out without adversely effecting the tree which branches can remain.

There is an art to it, a skill to it and experience and training is primary.

You can find out more information about tree preparation for hurricanes by visiting 

Trees hurricane ready


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