It can be difficult to protect your home and yard from the strong winds of a hurricane, but there are some steps you can take to help minimize the damage. Here are five storm-wise landscaping tips to better prepare your property for a potential hurricane.
Salt spray is when tiny droplets of salty water is thrown into the air from waves breaking on the beach, says North Carolina State University. This spray can have a significant impact on plant growth along coastal regions. If you live in a coastal region, consider choosing plants for your yard that can handle salt on their stems, leaves and roots.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), some trees are prone to more storm damage than others. For example, trees that are shallow-rooted in soft soil have a tendency to topple over in high winds. Carefully decide on the type of tree you plant in your yard, but also where you plant it. The University of Florida says storm-wise planting should consider the mature height of the tree to help avoid future interference with fences, buildings or power lines.
Thorough and frequent pruning can help make your landscape look nice. But, proper pruning is also a good way to help prevent property damage in the event of a potential storm. IBHS suggests trimming dead, damaged or diseased tree limbs, and those that are too close to your home or near power lines. (Consider calling an expert for any work near a power line). Also, look around the yard for any cracked, hollow or decayed trees and have them removed to help minimize the possibility of a strong storm uprooting them.
If you have rock or pea gravel in your flower beds or along paths around your yard, IBHS suggests you consider replacing the materials with shredded bark or other soft mulch. During high winds, small rocks can become projectiles, often breaking windows or damaging the siding of the house. Shredded bark is often softer and less dangerous if caught in the wind.
If a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching, remember to bring anything that can be a potential wind hazard or projectile (toys, potted plants, lawn furniture, etc.) inside. The South Florida Water Management District also suggests running a check of the yard to determine whether any debris in your swales or drainage systems might prevent water from flowing away from your property.
Originally published on June 3, 2013.