Immediately following storm:

  • Identify and manage potential hazards
    • Get help with any debris or branches near power/communication lines
    • Watch for lifting roots that may interact with underground utilities or irrigation
    • Check for leaning trees and hanging limbs, contact a professional arborist to assess
  • Stand up smaller leaning trees
    • Trees with trunks less than 4 inches in caliper can be easily stood and staked
    • Irrigation is key to success, treat these trees as if just planted and water accordingly
  • Irrigate stressed trees: Unfortunately, many hurricanes and other strong storms occur just before the dry season in Florida, be sure to provide supplemental irrigation to trees during their recovery. Exposure to high winds will desiccate leaves and your trees will need supplemental irrigation as they put on new growth.
  • For trees and landscape plants: Unless branches are broken, avoid pruning right after the storm. The plants need a chance to put on new growth and recover. Once the plants have a chance to put on new growth, you can prune away any branches that remain dead or undesirable.

6 months post storm:

  • Continue to irrigate stressed trees if needed
  • Monitor for signs of pest or disease, contact our diagnostic services for identification:
    • Holes in bark, sawdust, galls etc.
    • Weeping/oozing bark
    • Wilting, sudden leaf loss
    • Yellowing/browning of leaves
  • It may be necessary at this point to do some restorative pruning for structure to your trees. Contact a certified arborist to conduct the work. Watch for opportunities to reduce codominant stems and correct any canopy imbalance.
  • Consider replacement of any lost trees, ask us for help with tree selection.

1-2 years post storm:

  • Supplemental irrigation should no longer be necessary
  • Continue to monitor for signs of stress or pest/disease
  • Put together a long-term plan for pruning and maintenance which emphasizes appropriate branch connections and avoids pruning ‘don’ts’ such as lion’s tailing, hat-racking and flush cutting.

See these resources for more information:

Hiring an Arborist

Cleaning up After a Hurricane

Restoring Trees After a Hurricane

Selecting Tropical and Subtropical Tree Species for Wind Resistance

by Alyssa Vinson
Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert
Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.


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