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News Story
Updated: 05/30/2013 08:00:26AM

Landscaping lessons learned from hurricanes

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (ANDREA BOOHER)

Hurricanes are the most costly natural disaster, and trees often contribute to the damage. No one wants to see destructive hurricanes, but they do play a role in shaping our natural world.


Pine Island,FL.,8/17/2004--Rese Podier and Garry McAlpin, FEMA contract inspectors from PARR, inspect home damaged by hurricane Charley.

FEMA photo/Andrea Booher

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (BUTCH KINERNEY)

A tree with extensive internal rot should be removed before a storm takes it down. Take a look at your landscape now, and think about the consequences of possible hurricane damage. Consult a professional tree trimmer.


PENSACOLA, FL, September 20, 2004 -- This large tree, which fell into a house near the Pensacola Yacht Club on Pensacola Bay is indicative of the strong winds which ravaged much of Escambia County and surrounding areas. FEMA Photo/Butch Kinerney

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY COMMONS WIKIMEDIA.ORG (MICHAEL RIEGER)

No tree is completely wind resistant. Conditions such as tree age and health, soil, planting site, and water saturation also play a role. Trees planted near pavement or sidewalks often have a difficult time forming a well balanced root system.


(September 27, 2004 Fellsmere, Florida) -- Tree and Roof damage from hurricane Jeanne in Indian River County.

Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA

By Karen Smoke

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Hurricane season begins June 1 — is your landscape hurricane-ready? Hurricanes are the most costly natural disaster, and trees often contribute to the damage. But trees contribute so much to our health by helping to purify air, and making our world beautiful, that we can’t even begin to imagine a landscape without trees. No one wants to see destructive hurricanes, but they do play a role in shaping our natural world.

We remember walking in an oak grove along a stream before experiencing Hurricane Charley. The ground was littered with the skeletal remains of live oaks, and the surviving trees were of fairly uniform size. We didn’t realize then that we were looking at the 1960 destruction of Hurricane Donna. Trees that had been young and supple then had now matured into middle age oaks. Clustered in areas where the grandfather oaks had gone down, wild citrus, pine and other oaks were now thriving. The soil underfoot was rich with an undisturbed layer of humus from decomposing leaves and limbs.

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