Thanks to Tropical Storm Debby and other extreme weather that will follow her in the coming months our landscaping will be put through harsh endurance tests from the high winds to heavy rains. Here are some tips that will help maintain your landscaping throughout hurricane season and prevent messes from piling up into disasters:
A smaller tree has a better chance of being saved than a larger one, but still may need to have a stake support system for up to two years to reestablish the root system. Any exposed roots should be covered, either with soil or moist burlap, to prevent permanent damage. It may be best to remove the tree altogether, as a weak root system is less apt to withstand the next storm, i.e. becoming a potential safety hazard.
Exposed Roots & Loosened Roots
Covering any exposed roots with soil should be done as soon as possible, but not in excess of the level it had been before it was uncovered. Putting too much soil atop the root will cut off oxygen supplies to the root system. Treat a leaning tree like a newly planted tree, adding stakes around it for support. Replace and firm the soil around the area to assure that no air pockets are around the roots.
To prevent further damage to the tree, as well as to prevent a safety hazard, broken branches should be removed immediately. Cutting off branches is most successfully done with separate cuts, starting from the underside of the branch to remove the possibility of tearing the tree. If a tree has lost all of its branches, it is advisable to remove the tree.
After a storm with heavy winds, there will likely be a lot of debris on your lawn, which needs to be removed as soon as possible so your sod does not suffocate, leading to brown patches. Removing all debris will also give the lawn a chance to dry out, avoiding any diseases caused by the rain.
Plants or trees with root damage may need more frequent irrigation, but do not oversaturate your plant-life. The heavy rains will likely be enough to turn off your irrigation system. Also note that in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco County, lawn and landscape watering is limited to one day a week, through July 31, 2012. Watering is prohibited between 8am and 6pm, and any observed violations will result in a hefty fine.
Keeping your landscaping maintained throughout hurricane season will not only allow it to thrive and stay beautiful, but will also prevent any further damage or safety hazards that may arise otherwise. From varying degrees of upset root systems and broken branches, to debris covered and drenched lawns, these tips will help your yard be at its best, rain or shine.
If you have any landscaping-related questions, please drop us a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org; your question and answer will appear right here in The Scoop from the Soil Up.