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How to Prepare Your Garden for a Hurricane

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Hurricane season is in full swing! With hurricane Irene an imminent threat to the entire east coast it is a good time to review proper hurricane prep for the yard and garden. Here are our tips for keeping your home and garden safe from high winds and rain.

  • Safety First.
    The most important, can’t stress enough tip is to, of course, listen to the officials and evacuate if advised. There are no possessions worth more than yours, your families and your pet’s safety. Always play it safe by leaving town and seeking shelter away from the storm’s path. Think of it as a great excuse to visit those landlocked relatives.
  • Trim your trees.
    Remove any dead, broken, or weak branches. Properly trimmed trees have a significantly less probability of being uprooted or losing branches during a storm. Downed trees play the largest part (and cost) of post-storm clean up. They can destroy houses, cars and close roads. Plus with proper pruning you will still have your beautiful shade tree to enjoy after the storm!
  • Clean up the yard, patio, and balcony.
    Pick up any smaller objects and store in the shed, garage, or in the house*. Smaller objects are easily picked up, carried by the wind and thrown into other objects like your dining room window. Item such as potted plants, lawn chairs, toys, flags, tools, small tables, umbrellas, and garden décor should all be relocated indoors. Potted plants which are too big to move can be set on their side and secured in place by tying them down.
  • Harvest.
    All of your more tender fruit and veggies that are mature enough to harvest should be picked. Tomatoes, berries, eggplants, peppers, and cucumbers top the list, while pumpkins, melons and gourds will probably weather the storm just fine. Don’t forget about the flowers, snip some of those pretty blooms to enjoy indoors since the delicate petals are easily blown off.
  • Secured plantings.
    Heavy winds can severely damage smaller plant limbs, snapping them right off. It is important to increase support by securely staking taller plants. Another great method of protecting plants from winds and even hail is to cover with shade cloth, landscape fabric or even a light blanket. You may also want to check any free standing trellises and add additional bracing where necessary.
  • Irrigation.
    Turn off all automatic watering systems before the storm. No use wasting water or money having sprinkler systems run while it rains. Chances are even if you miss most of the rain the cloud cover will keep plants from drying out while you’re away. If you are worried about too much water in the garden, dig a small ditch and fill with rock to collect runoff.
  • Lock up.
    Finally, last but not least, firmly close and lock all shed doors and garden gates. Not only can they blow off during the storm where they can become a dangerous projectile, repetitively banging doors are an exasperating nuisance

* If you have a pool- larger loose items that can’t be stored indoors such as lawn furniture can be tossed into the pool for safe keeping.

Hopefully these tips will keep you home, lawn and garden damage free this hurricane season.

What do you do to prepare major storms?