First an earthquake, then a hurricane! From the sound of our phones this week, we know that many of our friends out there suffered some type of property damage during Hurricane Irene. No matter how well you prepare for a storm of this type, the force of the wind on your trees and other structures can have devastating results.
In the same way you prepare to keep your house and family safe during a major storm, you can prepare your yard to minimize damage. Here are some measures you can take:
1. Check the trees. Tall and lush trees could protect your home from high winds, but their dry and scraggly branches could break off and cause damage to your house, fence and yard. Prune any overreaching, unhealthy or dead branches that threaten to become harmful projectiles during a strong storm or hurricane. Weak or rotting trees are prone to cracking, breaking and falling in the high winds that accompany these serious storms. Not only can trees be destructive, they can be deadly. If you are unsure of the stability and health of your trees, call a tree professional. They are also the best choice when it comes to tree cutting or major trimming.
2. Check pergolas and gazebos. If you have garden structures like pergolas and gazebos, even tool sheds or garden sheds, be sure to check them out for integrity and stability before Mother Nature gives them a beating. Look for rotten posts and foundations, wobbly or broken joints and loose trimmings and decorative elements. Fix any issues so that the structures and their surrounding plants can withstand all the storms that pass through.
3. Check trellises. If your garden has long stakes and trellises to support plants and vegetables, make sure they are all firmly posted in the ground or attached to a permanent structure. A few unstable legs or weak attachments will bring the whole trellis, along with the plants, crashing down under strong winds.
4. Gather gardening tools and equipment. It may be fine to leave the tools and equipment outside any other time of the year, but during hurricane season, it’s best to store them in a safe place like the garage or tool shed.
5. Remove lightweight garden décor. Mirror balls, garden mobiles, wind chimes and wind socks need to be taken in or suffer the risk of being damaged, if not picked up, by strong winds. Hanging plants should also be relocated to an area where they will be safe from devastating storms.
6. Clean up the yard. Gather and secure loose items like empty containers and flowerpots. Roll up the garden hoses and bring in the watering cans. It will be easier to clean up storm litter and debris from a tidy yard.