FLORIDA — Much of Florida has been experiencing rain, thunderstorms and even some wind damage and this is just the beginning of the 2023 Tropical Storm season. Because of the likelihood of tree damage, it is wise to take a look at the condition of trees on your property.
Falling trees and flying landscape debris during a storm can cause damage. Evaluate your landscape for potential tree hazards. Pruning or removing trees once a hurricane watch has been announced is risky and tree trimming debris left along the street is hazardous.
Now is a good time to remove dead or dying trees, to prune decayed or dead branches and to stake newly planted trees. Also inspect your trees for signs of disease or insect infestation that may further weaken them.
Professional help sometimes is your best option when dealing with larger jobs. Property damage could be reduced by having a professional arborist evaluate unhealthy, injured or questionable trees to assess risk and treat problems.
Hiring a certified arborist can be a worthwhile investment. To find a certified arborist in your area contact the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) at 678-367-0981 or online at www.isa-arbor.com. You may also contact the Florida Chapter of ISA at 941-342-0153 or online at www.floridaisa.org.
Consider removing trees that have low wind resistance, are at the end of their life span and have the potential to endanger lives or property. For example, laurel oaks are relatively short-lived, beginning to decline in only about 50 years, and they tend to lose their strength and stability faster than most other oaks.
They have low wind resistance and also have brittle wood and a shallow root system. If you have a big, old laurel oak within falling distance of your home, you may consider removing it before the next storm.
Here is a link to a UF/IFAS Extension publication titled “Wind and Trees: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes,” which includes lessons learned from research conducted after 10 hurricanes: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FR173
Here is a link to a UF/IFAS Extension site on Trees and Hurricanes with a wealth of information on everything from chainsaw safety to preparing your property for hurricane season: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/entity/topic/trees_and_hurricanes