Get ready for another busy hurricane season, Tampa Bay area residents. Just like the previous year, meteorologists predict an “above-average” hurricane season to manifest itself along the US coastline. Is it just us, or is every Tampa Bay hurricane season above average, lol?
With a massive 41% chance of a major hurricane this year, it’s a good idea to prepare your yard for the anticipated changes in weather. Using some simple maneuvers to lessen the impact of a hurricane on your property can save you lots of time, effort, and money in the long run.
Most importantly, it could prevent injuries to you and your loved ones. The following 8 tips will help you prepare your landscape for hurricane season 2021.
1) Purge and Prune Diseased Plants and Get Rid of Useless Items
The protocol of hurricane preparedness starts by narrowing it down to the essentials. Get rid of all the useless junk which lies about in your yard. Be it useless furniture or diseased plants. Get rid of these plants by pruning away their diseased portions.
This will allow you to target your energies to more saving-worthy parts of your yard. Decluttering will also let you prioritize different aspects of your yard which deserve more attention.
2) Remove Free-standing Furniture From Your Yard
You know the drill, if a hurricane is coming, it’s time to remove all free-standing outdoor furniture from your yard. For homes with heavily decorated outdoors, removing free-standing furniture can be cumbersome, but there are many solid reasons for doing so.
The most obvious reason is that the hurricane could destroy or irreparably damage your expensive outdoor furniture.
Another reason is because the strong hurricane wind might send a chair or umbrella, say, flying into your or your neighbor’s home. Hardy furniture has been known to turn into tough tragedy with some vigorous wind acceleration.
There are several ways to prevent your loveseats from turning into weaponry, which we mention in a few of the following tips. The simplest ways are to tie or weigh down your outdoor furniture. Patio furniture sandbags, deck-down anchors, sofa fasteners, and many other options are available for you to choose from.
3) Use Windbreaks (Walls, Hedges, Fences)
This is a great strategy if you plan on playing offensive and don’t want to compromise on how you choose to decorate your yard. Start by using hedges and fences to protect the plants.
Hedges can be styled in certain configurations allowing them to withstand strong winds. Of course, it takes time for hedges to grow, so early planning and routine maintenance are key.
A favorite hedge of ours is made with the fast-growing leyland cypress. This cypress grows 3-5 feet a year, can stand the heat, humidity, and the rare freeze. Plus, it’s an amazing noise barrier. *Fences also make good wind barriers and there are some specifically designed to slow or fracture air currents.
Concrete or steel fortified walls have a tremendous ability to withstand strong gusts of winds. Though a costlier option, a strong wall will not only break the force of the wind, but it nearly guarantees to protect your yard and the valuables within. Plus, concrete walls are so beautiful. Think South Tampa and Snell Isle…
4) Protect the Roots of Young Plants
Young plants are often the first to bear the brunt of a storm. This issue typically arises from their weak root system which prevents them from holding on to the soil. As the topsoil is blown off by a gust, the roots lie there prone to be blown away any next moment.
Mulching and adding other materials such as gravel can add an additional protective layer over the topsoil, shielding the young roots. Besides its protective role, mulching can also improve moisture retention and accelerate the growth of plants.
5) Consider Staking Taller Plants or Bring Them Inside
If your yard is home to the taller varieties, mulching might not be that useful. Taller plants offer more surface for winds to bang against and can be knocked down by heavy winds.
Giving these taller plants support using a strong bamboo stick or some other stake can increase their ability to withstand air pressure. Use sturdy support and tie it with the main stem of the plant using a string and your plant should be good to go.
Staking the plants might work for hurricanes of lesser intensity but if your area is facing a high-intensity hurricane, a Grade III or higher, then bringing these plants in is your best bet.
Most outdoor potted plants can withstand a good number of hours indoors before seeing any damage. Use your garage or any other shaded area to shelter these plants while the storm rages outside.
6) Cover What Needs Protecting
Take a large sheet of reliably strong material like Visqueen or tarp and cover vulnerable plants. Tie the corners of the sheet with strong strings, zip ties, or simply weigh them down with weights.
Alternatively, you can use overturned and weighed-down tubs or some other containers to shield plants during the hurricane season.
7) Weigh Everything Down with Heavy Weights
Plants are not the only things in your yards. Try moving anything you possibly can to the yard shed or inside your home. This includes your patio furniture, gardening equipment, lawn chairs, or any other thing of value or importance.
However, if you find yourself running out of space or, due to any other reason, you are unable to do so, tie everything to some solid support. You can tie down the chairs and tables to the pillars or any other solid structure. If that is not possible, tie them with a string or rope and weigh them down with a stone. This makeshift arrangement might bode you well temporarily.
8) Pick Fruit and Veggies Throughout Hurricane Season
Growing a mango tree? Make sure there are no ripe fruits on trees or any other prepared crop in your yard. As a precaution, you can even pick the edibles that aren’t fully ripe, then artificially ripen them using synthetic ripening products available in the market.
Maybe it’s a little protective on our part, but don’t let the hurricane swallow your nosh. You’ve worked hard to harvest that garden.
Plan for the Hurricane Season in Advance
This sounds so obvious, but how many of us are guilty of running to the store last minute for batteries and bottled water? Planning for a hurricane in advance gives you ample time to prepare for and foresee what might happen.
Weather forecasts detail what kind of hurricane you should be expecting and what level of preparedness you should be at. If it is a hurricane that falls in category IV or above, your thoughts might be on evacuation not tree trimming or gutter cleaning.
Those of us in the Tampa Bay Area should be thoughtful about the kind of plants and trees, along with other landscaping features, we install in our yards. For example, delicate flowerbeds with low root systems plants and little mulch and edge are vulnerable ecosystems for hurricane season.
Professor Green Thumb recommends getting a head start on hurricane prep as early as October or November the year before. Clearing the yard of dangerous limbs or removing trees altogether could be a big job, and you don’t want to wait last minute only to learn your landscaper service provider is booked three weeks out.
It’s like waiting till midsummer to call your AC person.
Want to get your seasonal landscaping checklist on the books?