If you’ve read our blog, “Are You Murdering Your Palms?” you might recall the mention of a so-called “hurricane cut” that lawn care companies give your palm trees to prep them for hurricane season. Well, I’m here to remind you that the hurricane cut is a myth!
Don’t let your lawn service fool you into thinking your palms should be trimmed up in order to survive a bad storm. It’s not true!
Actually, the opposite is true. Palm trees were designed to bend and sway with the wind. How do you think they’ve survived tropical climates prone to hurricanes for so many years? …Long before landscaping and lawn care companies were even a thing, might I add.
Trimming fronds before they completely die and fall to the ground not only starves your palm of vital nutrients, as mentioned in our “murder” article, but it can also make them more susceptible to wind damage. Take a look at the two photos below from Hurricane Wilma a few years ago.
The trees on the left were over-pruned before the storm, and as you can see, suffered major damage during the hurricane. These trees will not grow back. Just a couple of blocks away, however, the trees on the right faired much better during the storm. They were not given the hurricane cut beforehand.
Proper Yard Prep
So, now that you know what NOT to do to your precious palms when preparing for stormy season, let’s list a few things you CAN do to protect your yard.
1.) Remove coconuts and fallen branches – Coconuts that have fallen or those that are ready to fall should be removed with care. They can and will become flying cannonballs should a big storm roll through. Trust me on this one. Any yard debris such as downed palm fronds and branches should be set on the curb during your yard waste pickup day so that it can be properly disposed of before a storm.
2.) Trim dead branches from trees – Trimming palm fronds that are completely brown and remove visibly dead branches stuck in your larger oak or banyan trees, especially those hanging over your house or near your windows and doors. You’ll notice crews trimming tree tops that hang near the power lines. While it looks a little funny, we agree it’s for the best when it comes to preventing long-standing power outages following a storm.
3.) Secure lawn ornaments and furniture – That cement bird bath might look sturdy, but if a strong storm is scheduled to pay a visit to our island, it could become an unnecessary insurance claim for your property. Obviously the same goes for securing your outdoor tables and chairs during a major storm. One thing we did not consider during Hurricane Irma was the ability for our trampoline to go airborne. Well, it did. So heed that warning, and make a plan for securing larger items like this as well.
Planning ahead and staying on top of routine maintenance in your yard will be the key to properly prepping your property in the event that a storm comes our way. Knock on bark, we hope this stormy season remains quiet as we near the later half of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.