Live Oak Tree

Hurricane Florence: Tree Maintenance & Storm Safety

As Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Irma showed us all too well, a powerful tropical storm is one of the most destructive forces of nature one can experience.

The combination of high winds and heavy rainfall in a short amount of time can lead to problems when it comes to your trees, whether those problems take the form of damaged trees or damage to your home or property from trees that fall to the fury of a storm.

Let’s explore how you can to protect your house from falling trees and ways to nurse your storm-damaged trees back to health.


How To Protect Your House From Falling Trees

As the wind begins to pick up speed, you can never be sure exactly what damage it will leave in its wake. This means you must take every step you can to prevent or limit any damage the storm may bring. Some of the most effective preparations you can make are things you should be doing year-round.

Unhealthy trees are usually the first to fall during a storm. This means you should do a thorough job of regular maintenance of the trees on your property. Things like the regular pruning of dead or damaged limbs, a regular schedule of mulching and fertilizing, and even the removal of trees that are too damaged to survive can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of heartaches when a storm hits your area.

Another step you can take is to remove branches to strengthen the whole tree’s ability to survive the storm. If you choose to do this, prune branches at the ends of long limbs. By leaving the interior branches intact, you will strengthen the chance of the tree to make it through in one piece.

The National Storm Damage Center estimates that over $1 million in property damage is caused by falling trees and broken branches each year. Although there is no “hurricane-proof” solution for your yard, there are things you can do right now to minimize your risk.


Florence Hurricane in North Carolina
Wilmington, NC. September 28, 2018. Hurricane Florence Damage to B’nai Israel in the historic overlay district.

In some cases, trees could fall on a vehicle with people inside, what happened in Houston, Texas on September, 2.  Two women were transported to the local hospital because of the injuries and eyewitnesses called the tree emergency service to remove the tree from a highway. However, it could happen with your car nearby your house. Be careful and look the storm check list bellow.

Before storm season begins, please, pay attention to your trees and landscaping.

Some of the things to look out for include:

Storm Checklist Yes/No
dead  or dying trees
trees with dense canopies
trees with weak limbs
newly planted or young trees
trees with split trunks
trees with lightning or pest damages


*If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to have a professional tree service come out and inspect your property immediately. We’ll take the time to trim excess branches, thin dense trees and remove any landscaping that may be at risk of damaging your home or those nearby.

How to Prepare Trees for Hurricane


Wind Resistant Trees

Storm Resistant Tree
Live Oak

Another thing to consider if you live in an area that may experience storms is the type of trees you plant.

Bald cypress, beech, crape myrtle, live oak and many types of palm trees are more naturally wind resistant than other breeds. 

Having these types of trees on your property will help alleviate the amount of damage you must deal with once a storm has passed. 

Just remember, while some types of trees are more naturally resistant to the effects of strong winds, no trees are fully impervious to damage from a storm of significant power.

Here is a storm resistant tree list that was developed from research of 10 hurricanes struck the Southeast U.S. Coastal Plain, South Florida and Puerto Rico between 1992 and 2005. The wind resistance study was conducted at the University of Florida

U.S. Southern Coastal Plain
  • American hophornbeam
  • Bald cypress
  • Beech
  • Chickasaw plum
  • Common persimmon
  • Crape myrtle
  • Dogwood
  • Fringe tree
  • Hickory
  • Holly American
  • Magnolia (saucer, southern, sweetbay)
  • Marple (Florida sugar, Japanese)
  • Oak (live, myrtle, post, sand live, turkey, swamp chestnut)
  • Podocarpus
  • Pondcypress
  • Redbud
  • River birch
  • Sparkleberry
  • Tupelo (black, water)
  • White ash
  • Winged elm

Tropical and Subtropical

  • Bald cypress
  • Buttonwood
  • Cocoplum
  • Crape myrtle
  • False tamarind
  • Geiger Tree
  • Gumbo limbo
  • Hickory
  • Holly dahoon
  • Ironwood
  • Lignum vitae
  • Lychee
  • Magnolia (southern,sweetbay)
  • Mahogany
  • Mastic tree
  • Oak (live, sand live)
  • Paradise tree
  • Pigeon plum
  • Podocarpus
  • Pond apple
  • Pondcypress
  • Satinleaf
  • Seagrape
  • Stopper (boxleaf, redberry, white)
  • Sweetgum
  • Tupelo (black)


  • Alexander
  • Areca
  • Bottle
  • Blue latan
  • Cabbage
  • Chinese fan
  • Coconut
  • Fishtail
  • Florida silver
  • Manila
  • Pindo
  • Royal
  • Spindle
  • Tratch
  • Triangle
  • Date



What To Do If Damage Happens

No matter how well you prepare, there are no guarantees that you’ll avoid hurricane damage. This means that you may have some hard decisions to make in the wake of a storm. While it’s obvious to most people what to do in the event they have flood or wind damage to their homes or other structures, many times their trees aren’t considered until later. This can be a mistake.

First, a damaged tree can turn into a more severe problem, depending on the type of damage the tree has sustained. Some types of damage are more obvious to the untrained eye than others; again, it’s simple to realize that a broken branch dangling over your garage needs to be pruned before it falls and causes even more damage, but damaged branches aren’t the only type of problems you can experience.


Florence Hurricane in North Carolina
Cut timber begins to pile up along Market Street in Wilmington, North Carolina following hurricane Florence.


In the wake of a storm, you can find trees leaning without being completely uprooted; these could fall in the future and should be checked by a professional. Also, some tree damage caused by storms can remain hidden for months; for example, if the roots of the tree are damaged by flooding or trauma, your tree could be dying while still looking healthy. 

Contact us now to request a free consultation by professionals


First Aid For Storm-Damaged Trees

after storm


Once the storm is over and the time for cleanup has come, there is one thing you will have to learn: patience. Storm recovery is a long, labour-intensive process, and in the immediate aftermath of a storm like Hurricane Florence or Hurricane Irma, there will be many things that you must take care of before saving trees can become a priority.

Once that time has come, though, the type of first aid your storm-damaged trees need will depend on what kind of trees they are and the type of damage each has suffered.

You may have the urge to prune many of the limbs on a damaged tree in an effort to make sure you get all the damaged limbs down. Don’t do this – removing too many limbs at once may deal a death-blow to the tree! If someone tells you that your tree needs most or all of its limbs pruned to help prevent damage, get a second opinion, as this will do little to prevent future damage.

After this type of procedure, one of two things will happen: either the tree will survive and the limbs will grow back, leaving the same problem as before, or the tree won’t survive such a massive pruning. If the tree dies, you’ll have an even bigger problem on your hands.


A Word of Caution

ISAUnfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who prey on victims of powerful storms. They will descend on a storm-damaged area with offers to clear away debris, remove or prune trees, or even repair damage, many times at a very reasonable price.

Scammers will either do a sub-par job or simply take your money and vanish. Even though dealing with storm cleanup is a stressful task that you’ll want to complete as quickly and affordably as possible, make sure you’re dealing with a reputable person or company when getting the help you need after a storm.

To find an ISA-certified arborist in your area – please, contact ChopDoc


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