Are Your Trees Prepared and Pruned for Hurricane Season?

June is here again! As Central Florida residents, we know that means hurricane season has also arrived for the next six months. The NOAA currently predicts a 60% chance of above-normal activity for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. While you always need to annually prepare, an above-normal prediction should be the ultimate wake-up call that you need to make sure your home is as safe as it can be — especially when it comes to trees. Previously, we’ve covered how to prepare your yard and landscaping for hurricane season. Today, we’re talking about the importance of pruning and tree removal.

The Benefit of Pruning Trees in Summer

If your trees are in good enough condition and don’t need to be removed (more on that later, if they do), that doesn’t mean they don’t still need to be prepped for safety. The beginning of the summer is a great time to prune your trees to last them through the season. Making sure your trees are pruned and trimmed can greatly decrease safety hazards from inclement weather, no matter if the severe weather is from an afternoon thunderstorm or a hurricane. Here are three benefits of pruning your trees at the beginning of the summer:

  1. Improving tree health — Pruned trees are able to grow back stronger and more secure, thereby making them less susceptible to forceful winds. Pruning your tree at the beginning of the summer also gives it time to heal and build its strength by the time a tropical storm or hurricane comes around.

  2. Discovering hidden problems — It’s easy for cracks or weak points on your tree to remain hidden due to leaves and smaller branches. However, pruning your trees will expose any weaknesses, pest infestations or even disease. You’ll need to take care of pests or disease upon discovering them, but treating these early can give your trees a better chance at a long, healthy life. Just because your tree “looks fine” from a distance doesn’t mean it really is!

  3. Removing hazardous limbs — Of course, the primary motivation for tree pruning is to remove large tree limbs that are loose or could cause major damage (to your house, car, etc.) in the event of strong winds. Related to discovering hidden problems, removing tree limbs can help you find other cracked or weak limbs that appeared undetected from a distance.


Don’t Wait and See When It Comes to Pruning

As previously mentioned, when it comes to improving your trees’ health with pruning, waiting until just before a hurricane is coming your way is not the best time to trim — the beginning of summer is. Timing and technique are key to trimming your trees for hurricane season. Even a tropical storm can wreak havoc on your property and endanger your safety As a property owner, you need to make sure you have plenty of time to prune your trees and tackle any unexpected needs, and your trees need time to begin their regrowth process in order to stand firm in the face of high winds.

Keep in mind some of these additional tips when prepping your trees for hurricane season:

  • Trim or prune any trees that have the potential to make contact with buildings or other property.

  • If a named storm is on its way, don’t leave your cut tree limbs or other vegetation debris on the curb, as these can become airborne and cause property damage or injury.

  • Only cut tree branches near the branch collar, which is where the branch meets the tree trunk, so as not to harm the tree trunk.

  • Thin out your trees to increase the ability of wind to flow through more easily, thus minimizing your chances of tree toppling.

  • Only cut down large limbs that could become a hazard, harm pedestrians or block traffic, and only remove branches larger than two inches in diameter when absolutely necessary.

  • When trimming, avoid “liontailing” as much as possible. This is when smaller branches on larger branches are removed, leaving only leaves at the very end of branches in place.

  • Also avoid overlifting when possible, which is when lower branches of trees are removed. This can cause trees to become more susceptible to rot and wind damage.

  • Leave palms as they are, since they are naturally adapted to strong winds. In fact, even dying leaves benefit the tree’s health, and should not be removed. However, you should remove any large palm seeds for the season.

  • Plant strong trees in the first place! Look for trees labeled as “Florida Fancy” or “Grade #1” when shopping. In Central Florida, choose trees recommended for  USDA Planting Zone 9.


When Should a Tree Be Removed?

Trimming trees is important, but even more important is knowing how to identify trees that are a risk to your safety. 

Diseased trees might at first appear normal until further inspection or after initial trimmings, and they can be extremely dangerous when the winds of a named storm are involved. They can easily topple, and their limbs/branches can break off and become projectiles. We recommend having a professional tree surgeon examine any suspected diseased trees on your property to decide how to treat them or whether to remove them.

Sometimes for the sake of your safety, a tree is just better off being removed entirely. Such situations include trees that are too close to buildings, trees with previous storm damage, and trees with structural issues or cracks in the trunk.

Prepare for Hurricane Season in Central Florida

Now that we are at the beginning of hurricane season, you need to be making your preparations, which includes tree trimming and tree removal. Daniel’s Lawn Service and Pressure Washing provides safe professional tree services across Central Florida. While we do provide emergency tree removal for after the storm, our greatest mission is to improve the safety of your home and business before bad weather hits. Contact us today to discuss your tree service needs and how we can help!