It’s June and the start of the 2021 hurricane season. If you happen to live near the coast like I do, hurricanes are just another aspect of our long, hot, and humid summers. It is important to note that while hurricanes usually come with plenty of notice, some storms can form quickly off the coast, which happened several times last year. For 2021, NOAA has predicted an active Atlantic hurricane season. Now is an excellent time to start preparing your yard for an incoming storm. Proper storm preparation can save your household thousands of dollars in landscaping and structural damage. Most of us in the Houston area are still spending money replacing our landscaping from this year’s overactive winter storms, so I highly recommend completing these 12 steps to save your trees, grass, flower and vegetable beds, shrubs, and ornaments.
12 Tips To Prepare Your Property for Hurricane Season
- This is a great time to have your trees and shrubs pruned by a professional tree service or if you have a member of your family that happens to love chain saws and tree cutting and won’t wound your trees, recruit them. I have two rather large oak trees in my front yard, and I just had them pruned last week. It was long overdue. If a category 2 or 3 storm had hit, I would have had extensive damage to my roof and possibly some windows.
- Check all your trees for any rotting branches or roots, and then cut any branches that are dead or that could drop in heavy winds. When trimming trees, be sure to keep the large healthy branches.
- If you have dead trees, remove them immediately. The snow apocalypse left a lot of us in Texas with dead trees. If your tree is becoming unhealthy, there is a large probability that it could fall during a storm. I met a woman this week who did not hire a professional to prune her tree, and her tree had a cutting wound. It is now dead. She is going to have to have it removed before the Atlantic becomes active.
- If you have newly planted trees, then consider staking them to the ground before a storm comes onshore. Older trees have established roots, but new ones do not have roots that are strong enough to keep them in the ground. When staking, it is important to keep the tie downs loose enough so the tree can move with the wind. If it is too loose, then the rope will loosen, and you will probably lose your new tree.
- Bring all potted plants inside your home, a shed, or a garage. Because winds are one of the primary dangers that come with a hurricane, you want anything that is not tied down that could become a projectile put away. Also, any small or delicate plants that could lose their leaves need to be brought in as well.
- If you have tall potted plants and no room to store them inside your home, garage, or shed, then lay them on their sides.
- If you have a trellis, you need to stake it to the ground because they can easily blow down during heavy winds.
- If you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees, pick the produce before the storm. Chances are you are going to lose what remains.
- Turn off your irrigation system. You will be getting enough rain, and your water system could be damaged in the storm.
- Now is an excellent time to clean out the rain gutters. I did this last week, and I found a sunflower growing in one and a few trees. You want to remove any debris that is near your roof. Another thing to look for is the health of your gutters. Verify that they are still attached to your house. If you find one that is loose, resecure it.
- Remove all tools, furniture, and yard decorations from your yard before a storm, and place them inside your garage or shed. When I was a child, my father would have my sisters and I walk a grid pattern in the back and front yards searching for any small, loose items that could become a projectile. It only takes one small item to cause damage during a hurricane. Don’t forget to move your garbage cans into your garage. There is nothing worse than looking out your window and seeing your garbage can float by.
- Once everything is secured, mow your lawn and be sure to cut it lower than you normally do. When the grass is shorter, it is easier for you to see debris and to rake up leaves when the storm has passed.
While hurricanes can be stressful for homeowners in the path of a hurricane, knowing how to prepare before a storm can save you valuable time and money after the storm. I hope this list helps you prepare for the hurricane season.