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Hurricane Clean Up Guide

In Florida, along with the sunny weather comes hurricane season from June 1st - November 30th. While we cannot predict when or where a hurricane will happen, we can provide you with a guide of how to best clean up after a storm. There are four important aspects to consider when approaching a hurricane clean up: safety basics, when to hire a professional, restoring trees, and electrical hazards.

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Safety Basics

Before diving into hurricane clean up, please remember that safety is always the top priority. There are dangers associated with hurricanes, and clean up should be taken with care, and when necessary, a professional to ensure the health and safety of the clients and the restoration of the landscape. When a storm clean up begins, remember to assess what areas are priorities to clear first such as roadways, driveways, and walkways allowing accessibility for first responders.

Proper Tools & Knowledge

Before approaching the storm clean up, check that you are using the correct tools for the cleanup, have knowledge of how to use them properly, and operate the equipment within the safety measures that are required when handling the tools.

Work Smart

When cleaning up after a storm, never work alone. There are many risks associated with a storm clean up and having someone nearby or working with you is important in case of an accident. Due to unforeseeable accidents, have a first aid kit nearby with an understanding of the items in the first aid kit and how to use them appropriately.

Only do tasks you are confident in doing and have the strength to do. If there are objects that are too heavy to lift and pose a risk to injury, do not lift them. Please take breaks and do not push your limits of physical activity. When working on a physically demanding job while tired, this only increases the risks of an accident or injury from occurring.

When to Hire a ProfessionalDown to Earth Landscaping

After a storm hits and leaves damage, it is important to assess which tasks you can do alone, and when to hire a professional. For example, picking up pieces that are under 25 pounds around your property can most likely be done by the property owner. However, if there is a fallen tree that requires advanced equipment or knowledge to be removed safely, please contact a professional.

When it comes to hiring a professional, it makes the most sense to hire a professional who is certified in their expertise. When beginning landscape clean up after a hurricane and you're faced with tree damage, fallen trees, and need help restoring your landscape, contact a certified arborist that has a certification with ISA (International Society of Arboriculture). Hiring a certified arborist will ensure the professional you hire has the knowledge and expertise to revive your trees and ensure they are not a liability.

Restoring Trees After a Storm

Florida landscaping

Just because a tree was damaged during a storm does not necessarily mean that it must be removed. There are a few ways that some trees can be restored to health, inclusive of implementing a Certified Arborist's guidance. Here are a few points that should be looked at to determine if the tree has a chance of restoration after a storm: 

  • If the tree fell over, is it small? A Certified Arborist will assess what can be safely stood back up and staked along with survival viability. As the diameter can indicate the age of the tree, typically the smaller trees are a bit younger and have a better chance of revival. 
  • What branches are broken? Many species can recover regardless of the size of the damaged branches. If the branches are small, regardless of the trees' species, they can be pruned and typically the tree will recover. Larger branches broken will require an inspection to measure the overall percentage of damage as anything over 30% will put the tree under significant stress and measures need to be taken to mitigate this risk. Horticulturally proper pruning of these branches will be vital to the life of the tree.
  • Is your tree losing leaves? Just because a tree is losing its leaves does not mean it is dead. It is quite normal for a tree to lose leaves after a storm, especially a storm that has any salt water in it. When a tree is faced with a saltwater flood-related storm, it is important to irrigate it with fresh water as soon as possible.

Electrical Hazards

Only qualified arborists who have knowledge and certification of clearing electrical hazards should work near electrical units that are damaged from a hurricane or storm. As you should know, electrical hazards and flooded areas are an extremely dangerous combination and should not be handled by anyone but professionals. Please note that even if you cannot see the electrical wire, it is quite possible that there could be damaged electric wires in the ground. Additionally, if capable of notifying the power company of downed lines this should be done immediately.

Be Prepared

When living in an area that has a hurricane season, it is important to have a landscaping company on call for the most unpredictable storms for a safe and quick recovery of your landscape, ensuring restoration to your property. Contact Us today for information on our storm services. Turn to Down to Earth Landscape & Irrigation for expert assistance in hurricane preparedness, safeguarding your turfs, and ensuring their resilience during stormy weather. Trust their expertise to protect your landscapes.