Cyclones, tropical storms or hurricanes often spell doom for any trees that you might have growing in your compound or farm. A good number of them will be torn down, split apart and even become dangerous projectiles that destroy nearby objects such as windows and cars. With harsh storms predicted towards the end of the season, it’s time to think about storm-proofing your trees.
Storm proofing involves doing everything you can to protect your trees in harsh weather. This might include having some of them removed lest they become a source of damage later. Here are 7 ways you can prepare your trees for storms:
This applies to pretty much any other tree whose height can be controlled through continuous maintenance. If you can, make sure that the trees you have around your house or farm are regularly pruned and maintained to keep them as short as possible. This is especially important for fruit trees such as avocado trees, mango trees, among others.
Shorter trees (about 12 to 14 feet) are more resilient to gusty winds and harsh storms than tall trees because of the short and sturdier trunk. At the same time, research has proven that higher winds in a tropical storm are faster and more destructive than lower winds because they have fewer obstacles to go through. If there is a tree that is going to be torn down and probably destroy your house, then it’s going to be that tall tree.
The weakest trees will always be destroyed if a storm hits your location. Always ensure that your trees are properly maintained by watering them, checking on the health of their bark, checking for termites, etc. Check for signs of soil erosion or cracking that may have weakened the root system. Healthy trees will always weather a storm even if they are young because they have a strong support structure.
While at it, it’s advisable to remove any trees that may show signs of bad health before a storm. Leaning trees, trees with decaying or cracked bark, dried out branches, and other signs of bad health should probably be removed. This is because such trees usually cause more damage in a storm than the storm itself and probably won’t be of any use even if they survived it. Be sure to check with a professional tree removal company before you think about felling big trees in and around your compound.
For some trees, you may be able to offer a little more reinforcement to the soil around the root system. If possible, excavate some soil or sand and use it to reinforce the one that is already there. Use a roller or any heavy equipment to compact the soil around the tree’s root system. This is especially important if there are any signs of soil erosion or if the soil supporting the tree’s root system is loose.
Potted plants and seedlings cannot survive a storm and should be transferred to an indoor facility such as a garage or warehouse. This also applies to young potted trees that have not yet fully developed. Such trees will have weak root systems and very soft branches that are easily ripped off in the gusty winds. If you cannot put them in storage, then try and either cover them or tether them to nearby objects such as poles and fences.
If the incoming storm is not too harsh, you may be able to protect any potted seedlings and young plants by laying them horizontally on the ground or compacting them together in a smaller space. Laying them down will reduce the amount of wind the young trunks have to deal with when the storm comes. Ensure the trees are properly watered and that the soil around the roots remains intact when you lay them down or change their position.
This can be a temporary solution if you have young trees or if the support system around your tree is weak. You can stake your trees with ranks, polls, or metal rods to ensure that can stay put in harsh weather. Ensure that you leave enough bending allowance when staking your trees otherwise they will bend and break in the storm even if you stake them.
This may not apply to all trees especially those that are too tall or have very wide crowns. You can opt to cover the crowns of your trees to prevent the branches and leaves from getting blown about by the turbulent winds and raindrops in a storm. Use nylon covers to cover the entire crown for short trees and secure it with a rope or sisal wraps to the trunk. Doing this also reduces the amount of surface area exposed to the wind which will, in turn, reduce the amount of leaf cover and branches lost in the storm.
This is a practical measure that you can take right before the storm or earlier if you have many trees to work on. It’s standard practice to trim trees before a major storm especially if the tree is near a house or garage. Trimming involves cutting or shortening some branches and leaves starting with those that are either too large and weak or those that have dried out and about to fall off.
Trimming large trees may require some kind of license from local authorities. It’s always good to ask for permission before you trim any large trees even if they are in your compound otherwise you may be hit with a fine later.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice or contact a licensed tree care and removal company for prices. They will take care of the trimming permits and are probably better equipped to trim large trees than you are. Remember that some trees may not be able to recover after trimming.