There are two constants every summer in South Florida: high temperatures and hurricane season. As Floridians know, hurricanes can cause some serious damage to our landscapes if preventative measures aren’t taken. It is the responsibility of the Board and Property Manager to prepare a community’s landscaping to mitigate any possible damages.
The following are some tips to ensure your association’s landscaping is best prepared for hurricane season:
At the onset of hurricane season:
- If not done so already, create a disaster plan – Having a plan of action for storms means your association will be better prepared.
- Trim your trees back now! Don’t wait for a storm to be on its way – Make sure to contact a certified arborist to assist you.
- Swap mulch for any rocks – Doing this will not only give nutrients to your soil but mulch is less dangerous in high winds than rocks.
- Stake young trees – It’s important to stake new trees and plants for them to stay put during storms. Make sure there is not too much tension, or they may snap.
- Review vendor contracts – Since assistance may be needed after a storm hits, you may want to review the terms of your vendor contracts. Make sure you have your landscape company’s contact information handy.
Before a storm:
- Bring in anything that might be a wind hazard – Things like potted plants, trash bins, and decorations could be dangerous during a storm; make sure to move them inside if a hurricane is on its way.
- Check drainage areas and gutters – If these areas are clogged, storm waters won’t be able to flow and may cause additional flooding.
- Turn off your irrigation system – Hurricanes bring plenty of rain water with them, turning off your irrigation system will avoid over watering the landscape.
After a storm:
- When safe, assess the situation – The Property Manager or maintenance employees should determine if there is any damage that needs to be immediately addressed.
- Document and photograph any damage – This may come to aid if any insurance claims are to be made by your association for damages.
- Clean up – Once it is safe, begin clearing leaves, shrubs and other fallen debris from the storm. Also, clear any buildup of mud or debris to avoid risk of secondary infection.
By using these tips, your association’s landscaping will be better protected for the upcoming hurricane season.
by Shane Humble, President, Complete Property Maintenance, Inc.