Hurricane Preparedness for Your Landscape

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By Kathy Esfahani

Hurricane season in Florida begins June 1 and ends November 30. While we hope for a calm season each year, it’s important to take steps to prepare your home and yard for a hurricane. Good preparation can help minimize damage in the event of a storm! Keep these tips in mind when preparing for possible hurricanes:

  • Prune shrubs and bushes away from the house. Branches that are too long can damage the coating.
  • Make sure all tree branches and palm fronds are trimmed high and away from the house. Prune low branches that could damage shingles or siding and remove dead branches that could blow away in strong winds.
  • To mow the lawn! Shorter grass will not accumulate as much debris as longer, more overgrown yards.
  • Clean up debris or miscellaneous objects from the yard. When the winds start to pick up, it will help minimize flying objects that could hit your home.
  • Plant any plants or trees that are top heavy, such as standard bottlebrushes or standard cassias, as well as topiary.
  • Remove yard decorations such as pottery, trellises, yard art, swings, and yard furniture, if possible. Otherwise, secure or anchor these items with sandbags, bungee cords, etc. in anticipation of high winds.
  • Wait until after the stormy season to replace the mulch, as it can be washed away by heavy rains. Pine straw can be placed around the beds to help keep the bark mulch in place as much as possible.
  • Make sure all drain lines are clear. Clean gutters and storm drains so they can function properly. Check the gutters to make sure they are securely attached to the house and can direct water away from the foundation.
  • If there is a hurricane nearby, turn off all irrigation systems. Although most systems have a rain shut off device, do not depend on this trigger during/after a hurricane. This shut-off device dries out faster than the soil and allows irrigation to resume when the soil is still saturated. Heavy rains can bring significant amounts of water, causing roots to loosen and trees to fall. Too much water can also lead to disease problems for grass, plants and trees. After the storm, allow your garden to dry out for 3-4 days before turning on the irrigation system.
  • Always know where your main water line is and how to shut it off in an emergency. If there is a special tool needed to extinguish, be sure to pick up that item now.

Flower of the week: Gaura, pink and white

Please email Kathy at [email protected] with any questions or gardening tips you would like to see in the future. For more information and ideas, visit Kathy’s Creative Gardens & Nursery, 196 N. Roscoe Blvd. The phone number is 904-655-7373.

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