As our active hurricane season approaches, it is a good time to think about ways to prepare your property to best protect your investment. If you are thinking about installing new plants, there are many native and Florida-Friendly options that can tolerate high winds and saltwater spray that may be the better choice for a more sustainable landscape. Planting trees in groups can be helpful in creating wind blocks and protecting other plants. When selecting locations for trees, consider the future growth of the tree and plant away from homes, buildings, powerlines, or other structures that could be damaged by falling limbs. Schedule seasonal maintenance on larger trees to keep them pruned and healthy to reduce falling branches. Utilizing native plants in your landscape is a great way to reduce damage risk and plant loss during strong storms and hurricanes. There are many great options to include in your landscape design if you are concerned about wind damage and saltwater spray on your plants.
If you are considering adding wind-resistant trees, check out many of the palms available that have few branches and can handle high winds such as the Sabal, Washingtonia, Spindle, Alexander, Bottle, Canary, Areca and Date palms. Many of the palms are also salt-tolerant and are great for coastal areas. For a location that requires a shade tree, consider the Live Oak, Sycamore, Southern Magnolia and Gumbo Limbo (zones 10b-11). If shade is not a priority, then think about planting Sea Grapes, Clusia, Crape Myrtle, Slash Pine, or Bald Cypress. Many of these trees are also salt-tolerant and had the highest survival rates during major hurricanes in Florida.
Protect your plants and property by using trees and shrubs to create windbreaks. Some plants that can be utilized as a windbreak are Sea Grapes, Pigeon Plum, Clusia, Viburnum, Oleander, Hibiscus and Podocarpus. These plants grow well in Florida and are salt-tolerant as well as wind-resistant. There are many options available and different designs can be utilized to create windbreaks specifically for your location. Adding multiple plant layers is helpful in offering a larger area of protection and reduces wind turbulence. Planting trees in groups or in rows next to shrubs will greatly increase wind resistance.
Another way to minimize plant loss is to create a rock garden, constructing layers with large rocks and boulders. Enjoy minimal maintenance by planting salt-tolerant succulents, native grasses, or cacti. Some of our favorite options include Agave, Purslane, Muhly Grass, Crown of Thorns, and Beach Sunflower. These plants are drought-tolerant once established and make a fantastic addition to a low-maintenance landscape.
If you are thinking about redesigning or adding to your existing landscape, consider plants that will endure Florida’s hot, humid summers and can survive the occasional strong storm or hurricane. Research the plants that are drought and salt-tolerant for your zone and select hardwood trees and palms that can withstand strong winds. Planting in groups and creating windbreaks can help protect other plants so that you can continue to enjoy your outdoor space. Preparing your landscape with hurricanes in mind can help protect your investment and help you save money from costly plant replacement or property damage. If you would like to discuss the best options available for your location, give us a call and we would be happy to schedule a free, onsite consultation.