Living on Long Island means we live with the possibility of hurricanes. There is no way to completely protect your landscape from storms. However, there are some things you can do to minimize the damage to your property if a storm hits.
In addition to wind tolerance and flooding tolerance, local storm-surge potential must also be taken into consideration. Storm surge brings large amounts of salt water inland. If your property is close to the water, the salt water can have a major impact on your landscape plants. A storms strong winds can carry spray from waters to land, splashing the surrounding area with sea salt. Unfortunately, the salty solution mist settles onto leaves and then into the soil once the excess water volume has decreased. Salt residue can seep into the root systems of trees, plants and turf, leaving them brittle, brown and desperate for hydration. Be sure to consult with your landscape and irrigation professional should this occur.
Here are some tips to prepare your landscape for storms:
Check trees and shrubs for plants that are too close to the house. Have these pruned away from the home and remove all debris before a major storm. Trees and shrubs will be more wind resistant if dead, damaged and diseased limbs are removed. Call a certified arborist for assistance.
Move container plants, hanging baskets, yard art, patio furniture and other lose items to a sheltered area. If plants are too heavy to move, place them behind a hedge close to the foundation and lay them flat.
Be aware that the calm “eye” of the storm is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
Make sure your irrigation system is off and not scheduled to run.