With Hurricane Matthew spinning just off the east coast of the Florida peninsula, it’s good to know how to prepare a landscape for a tropical storm. Those conditions are highly expected to occur on the central west coast of the Sunshine State, and Sarasota, still reeling from previous storms, will likely be affected. The good news is, because Sarasota was previously hit earlier in the year, a lot of loose debris has already been cleaned up. What’s more, Sarasota is on the west side of the cyclone, which is much more preferable to the east side. With Hurricane Matthew still a good day, two, or three away, now is the time to prepare your landscape for a tropical storm.
Common Tropical Storm Damage
Tropical storm conditions wreak havoc on homes and landscapes. With so much rain, it’s very possible to have to save a completely flooded lawn. Common tropical storm damage to homes and landscapes include scattered debris, HVAC damage, siding and window damage, roof damage, vehicle damage, uprooted trees, downed trees and branches, scattered mulch, fence damage, downed or damaged hardscape features (like a damaged or fallen pergola), pool debris, deck damage, and more.
The worst thing that people who live along coastlines can do is not to prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes. According to the National Hurricane Center, the two key factors contributing to weather safety during hurricanes are preparing in advance for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials. —Accuweather.com
This is why upkeep and maintenance are so important. For instance, periodically resealing a wood deck, regular pool filter maintenance, pruning trees, bushes, and hedges, repairing retaining walls, and other proactive steps. But, just keeping your landscape maintained and updated isn’t enough to prepare it for the impact of tropical storm conditions. When winds begin to gust at over 39 miles per hour or higher, your landscape must bear the brunt.
How to Prepare a Landscape for a Tropical Storm
When we think about tropical storm preparation, we typically think about our homes. Covering windows, staging sandbags, buying plenty of non-perishables, water, batteries, charging devices, getting a first aid kit ready, and more. What we tend to forget are the very things which can’t escape the severely inclement conditions — young trees, vegetables, flowering plants, hardscape features, and more. So, here are some helpful tips for how to prepare a landscape for a tropical storm:
- Lay potted plants and trees on their sides. It seems perfectly fine to wrap potted plants and potted trees in tarps but that creates dangerous situations. If you wrap a potted plant or tree in a tarp, the material will probably come loose and act like a sail — creating an unstable projectile. Lay potted trees and plants on their sides and brace with bricks. Face the tops away from the anticipated wind direction, as well.
- Take care of trees, especially near your house. Take time to look at the trees on your property to spot any dead or dying branches, particularly any trees near your house or those with branches extending over the roof. While previous storms might have broken weak branches, there could be more branches will are susceptible to wind damage. Any leaning trees should be dealt with appropriately, especially those which can fall onto your house or vehicles.
- Remove all debris from your front and back lawns. If there is any debris on your lawns, front or back, now is the time to clean it up. Remember, any loose objects become dangerous projectiles when winds gust to speeds of 39 miles per hour or higher. If you have the equipment to cover your pool to repel debris, now is the time. But don’t use the cover if it’s worn or damaged, or if it cannot be totally secured.
- Bring outside furniture and decor inside your garage. Outdoor patio furniture and any decor hung around should be taken to an inside location, such as a garage, shed, or even a pool house or cabana. In the alternative, rope or chain furniture together and secure it to a strong tree that’s well away from your house.
- Don’t forget to harvest your vegetables out of the garden. Now is also the time to harvest vegetables out of your garden so they aren’t lost to the storm. During heavy wind gusts, vegetables will be damaged and/or carried away. Even those which survive and are submerged under flood water will need discarding.
If it’s time to update your landscape or add more features, contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.