Protect Your Trees from Hurricane Damage
Tree damage can be one of the saddest and most worrisome consequences of any hurricane or severe windstorm. Trees are a vital and compelling element in any landscaping plan, providing shade, beauty, and even increasing property values. They offer environmental benefits as well, such as cleaner air and water, soil conservation, climate moderation, protection for other plants and shelter for birds.
In terms of safety, fallen trees or limbs can damage homes and other structures during a hurricane. Knowing which trees to plant, where to plant them, and how to prepare existing trees for hurricane season can greatly reduce the risk of lost or damaged trees. There are some steps you can take on your own, but for best results, rely on the expertise of your tree service professional in preparing your trees for hurricane season.
WHICH TREES TO PLANT
If you live in a hurricane zone and you’re considering planting trees, starting off on the right foot with the right trees upfront, will save you money, trouble and anguish down the road. To minimize potential storm damage, choose trees that are wind resistant and/or decay resistant. The most wind resistant trees:
- defoliate during storms
- have high elasticity of the wood,
- have wood that can significantly bend before breaking
- are smaller at maturity
- have deep root systems
- are grown in clumps of at least 5 trees
Additionally native trees tend to have a higher survival rate than non-native species.
These hurricane resistant trees grow well in the greater Houston area:
- Live Oak Quercus virginiana
- Southern Magnolia magnolia grandiflora
- Saucer Magnolia (Japanese magnolia, Tulip tree) Magnolia x soulangeana
- Crape Myrtle Lagerstroemia indica
- Dahoon Holly Ilex cassine
- American Holly Ilex opaca
- Yaupon Holly Ilex vomitoria
- Vitex or Chaste Tree Vitex agnus casius
- Native Fringe Tree Chionanthus virginicus
- Redbud Cercis canadencis
- Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum
- Sabal Palm Sabal palmetto (Florida cabbage palm)
- Winged Elm Ulmus alata
- Sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua
In addition, the following tree species tend to be decay resistant:
- Live Oak
- Winged Elm
MAINTAINING TREES TO RESIST HURRICANES
Your tree service professional is your greatest ally in preventative care to minimize storm damage and to save your investment in your trees, which increase property value when well maintained, but can be a liability when they are not.
Structural pruning is crucial in allowing a tree to develop in strength and reduce the likelihood of damage. Trees need to be pruned selectively to allow wind passage, encourage strong branch angles and encourage a stable center of gravity.
To help protect you, your property and trees, contact Simpson’s Tree Service before hurricane season.
Call Simpsons Tree Service for a free quote in the South West Houston area: (281) 980-0095
- For young trees, prune to develop one dominant trunk by shortening competing branches.
- For mature trees, reduce the length of branches with weak attachment to the trunk and reduce limbs that are more than half the diameter of main trunk or extend beyond main canopy.
- Balance the canopy by reducing the length of limbs on the side of trunk where weight is concentrated.
If you are considering removing trees prior to a hurricane to reduce the likelihood of damage to a structure, a tree service professional will help you evaluate which trees you can keep and which should go. Considerations include:
- health of tree
- species of tree
- age of tree
- strength of structure
- previous maintenance and cultural practices
- denseness of canopy
- proximity to a structure
Don’t feel you have to go “chain saw crazy” and cut down every beautiful tree on your property. Relatively few trees actually fall during storms, impacting nearby structures. With the proper care and preparation, most trees are fairly resilient, and although they may sustain damage, many will recover. You can’t control the weather, but with the help of a qualified tree service professional, you can take positive steps to mitigate its effects on your trees.