As Tropical Storm Nate makes its way to the Gulf Coast this weekend, these tips can ensure your landscape is taken care of before and after the storm.
BEFORE THE STORM
1.) Trees: Look for any large dead branches in the trees. Remove them, especially if they pose a threat to the house.
2.) New trees: If you have newly staked trees or have just removed the stakes from young trees planted within the past one to three years, make sure they are securely staked to prevent them from blowing over. Drive the stakes deeply and securely into the ground.
3.) Gutters: Clear gutters of leaves, branches and other debris so heavy rain water can get away from your house and landscape.
4.) Irrigation: Make sure your sprinkler system is in the off mode.
5.) Swimming Pools: If you have a pool, DO NO drain it. You may think rainwater can cause the pool to overflow and therefore flood your home. But the water actually acts as a weight. Draining the pool could cause it to pop out of the ground if it is empty.
5.) Extras: Bring all container plants, hanging baskets, tools, lawn and porch furniture, toys, wind chimes, flags, grills and other things that could be destructive with strong wind gusts.
6.) Vegetables. If you have anything growing in the garden now, harvest all that you before the storm. High winds and flood water will ruin most of the vegetables that remain.
AFTER THE STORM
7.) Trees: As soon as possible, straighten, reset and stake any small trees or tall shrubs that may have been blown over by the storm, especially if there are exposed roots. , If there are any exposed root systems, prevent them from drying out by covering the exposed roots with soil, moist burlap sacks, or moist sphagnum moss.
8.) Branches: Remove any broken branches that are still attached; don’t yank it since it may strip the bark. Resist the urge to over prune. If there is a crack or split evident where a major limb meets the trunk and the crack goes into the trunk, it is best to remove the limb. Be safe and don't do it all yourself.
9. ) Soil: When high amounts of rainfall have occurred, roots may drown or rot if the ground stays saturated for an extended amount of time. If that happens, Remove all mulch from around shrubs and beds for a few weeks after any flooding until the soil has a chance to dry out, and then replace it.