Hurricane-force winds wreak havoc on Florida landscapes and homes, but there are steps you can take to reduce the potential for damage. Caring properly for your trees and being mindful of other objects around your house are simple ways to protect your property.
Over 30 million live Christmas trees will go into landfills at the end of December unless instead they are repurposed and used in landscaping. Consider turning your tree into mulch or pine straw or firewood or a trellis or an aquatic refuge.
Palm trees add a wonderful tropical vibe to any landscaping. Use short, wide palms as privacy screens, understory plantings, or in big pots by the pool. Plant tall palms as single specimen plants, landscape bed anchors, or processionals down long driveways.
Most young trees do not require staking. A few do, however. These include eucalyptus, oleanders and acacias; trees planted in windy places or in saturated ground; trees with trunks that need support to stand straight; and top-heavy trees with a small root ball.
The moringa tree—also called the ben oil tree, drumstick tree, and horseradish tree—is suited for Florida because it thrives in heat and does well in sandy soil. Its leaves and seed pods are a superfood source of vitamins, proteins, and antioxidants.
It was the Romans who introduced espalier—the practice of training trees to grow along a flat support such as a wall or fence. Today’s homeowners can easily adopt this growing technique, which results in trees that look like art and require little space.
Mistletoe, the stuff of legend and tradition, grows in two varieties: dwarf mistletoe, found in the western United States, and leafy mistletoe, found in the southwest and Florida. While leafy mistletoe is not as deadly as its western counterpart, it can severely impact a tree’s health and vigor.
Spanish moss grows throughout Florida and the southeast United States. Contrary to common belief, it does not harm trees and generally does not need to be removed. It provides cover for insects and small animals and today is used mostly for mulch and craft materials.
Homeowners should select wind-resistant trees for their landscapes. After a storm has passed, assessing tree damage quickly is important. Homeowners must decide which trees will benefit from restorative pruning, which trees can be righted and re-planted, and which trees must be removed.