|Hurricane Resistant Trees for Your Landscape|
Well, now that the storms have passed and we have had a chance to survey the damage the major hurricanes of 2004 have wrought on our gardens and landscapes across the Florida peninsula, it becomes apparent what trees will and will-not stand-up to hurricane force winds. Below is list of trees suggested for replanting in hurricane damaged areas and those recommended to be removed before the next category storm crosses the state. This list is not exhaustive and is culled from various lists of recommended storm resistant trees for Florida and the south as well as personal observation. Certain wind, placement, soil and pruning factors must be taken into account in cases where this list conflicts with other published lists and personal observation.
Native trees, particularly those with wide spreading branches, low centers of gravity, strong deep penetrating root systems, and small leaf size seem to hold up better in tropical storms especially if they are found growing in mixed groves of trees. Lone growing solitary specimens have less wind resistance than massed trees.
To prepare your trees for a category storm remove weak and diseased trees as well as any large trees within one hundred feet of your home or car. Prune and thin trees to give them a lower center of gravity and to lessen leaf mass. Sculpting a tree will allow wind resistance to increase. Lightly fertilize annually and be sure that all trees are growing where their root zones are covered with good healthy soil. Watering during drought periods will allow the roots of the plants to maintain their turgor and their holding power. Plant trees in groves and add ample shrub mass to deflect wind upwards. This places what is called the "point of overturning pressure" farther from the root zone into the area of the tree with more flexibility. Remove non-native over story vegetation, keeping in mind that canopy trees in any community are composed of native trees that have withstood coastal storms in the past and will do so in the future.