Hurricane Preparation

Preparing your trees for a stormy Florida summer is best done by professionals. In the months leading to the beginning of storm season, many tree (removal) services will encourage the removal of your healthy & well-established trees. More often than not, removal need not be the case. Just because a tree is large or even leaning, it’s not necessarily unsafe.

Although tree removal is sometimes necessary, there are methods of pruning your valuable mature trees which can be effective in decreasing the damage a large wind event like a hurricane might cause:

  • Cleaning the crown, or hazard pruning, is the first of these methods. Any pruning activity should begin with the removal of all dead, diseased, or broken branches that might easily fall in a hurricane or other strong storm. In addition, removal of dead wood allows the tree to allocate its resources to healthy limbs, thereby allowing the tree to become more efficient and healthier in the future.
  • Reduction is the method of reducing weight at the end of branches (usually by pruning the “understory” or low crown) so that the risk of breakage is minimized. When done properly by a Certified Arborist, only the necessary amount of leaf is removed to lighten the weight at the branch collar and to minimize the “sail” area. Done improperly by an amateur, this could easily lead to “over” pruning – the introduction of too many or too large wounds in the tree and the removal of large amounts of leaf the tree needs to photosynthesize.
  • Thinning is a method of reducing the sail area of leaf within a tree’s crown. When done properly, the benefits of thinning are better air movement within the crown as well as more light penetration to the ground below. Done improperly, thinning can result in “lion’s tailing” and actually increase the possibility of branch failure. A Certified Arborist is trained in the proper method of thinning your tree so as not to cause these problems.

Root evaluation and tree placement are huge factors in determining the potential hazard of your tree. Location to a home, street, sidewalk, or driveway can give a Certified Arborist a good idea of what may be going on underground.

Gulf Coast Tree Care will only give you the truth about your trees! Let our Certified Arborist evaluate your trees for hurricane season. If a tree service wants you to take out a tree you think doesn’t need it, please call us for a second opinion!

Steven Kale