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Preparing for the Big Storm: Proper Tree Pruning and Removal

By Advance Tree Pros

Nearly 10 years ago, our great state of Florida was hit by what is known as the Big Four of 2004. These were all hurricanes that hit our state (or very close to it), causing such a devastating path that their names were retired. We will never see Charley, Frances, Ivan, or Jeanne again, but there is always the chance we’ll see storms just like them in the future. While it might be early to think about it, it’s never a bad idea to know how to prepare your property for a big storm season, and that includes how to properly trim and prune your trees.

When you look at the trees in your yard, you might think that if it’s anywhere near your roof (or a neighbor’s) that you should just take it down. Tree removal is necessary at times, but we want to make sure that your trees are preserved for as long as possible. It’s good to have a professional tree service company around to help you see what should be done.  We start by looking at each tree and seeing if it can handle the strain of a powerful storm.  When we know it can, we recommend the following:

  • If the tree has a thick canopy, you want to thin it out. Thick canopies can act like a sail being pulled by strong winds. Thinning it out will let winds blow through it more easily.
  • If you see branches growing horizontally from the trunk, you can rest easily that these branches should be strong. If they are growing vertically, or parallel to the trunk, this could be a concern. That is an area where a split could occur, leading to falling branches and maybe damaged property.
  • Avoid trimming roots. Roots support a tree, and any sort of trimming of those will lead to a weakened support structure. Strong winds could then knock the whole tree over.
  • Never cut a branch flush against the trunk. This can damage the trunk, and that can hurt the overall health of the tree. Instead, cut outside of the “collar” (an area of swelling where the branch and trunk meet). This will leave a small stub, but it is better for the tree.
  • Of course, to get a jump on the game, you could also consider what kinds of trees you want before planting them. There are many species, like palm trees in Florida, that survive hurricanes and other storms quite easily.

You want to keep trees and other plants to add both aesthetic and intrinsic value to your property. If your trees can survive a storm with some basic maintenance, then take that route. Of course, if there are trees in your yard that show signs of rot or disease, they could be a problem when storms arrive. Those trees would have to be removed.  When it’s time for that, get an Orlando tree service professional to come out and take care of it.