While taking care of your garden isn’t a top priority when a strong storm is bearing down, there are things you can do to protect your home and garden before a hurricane or tropical storm hits the Tampa Bay area.
Safeguarding your garden from strong storms means taking both long-term and last-minute preparations. Long-term preparations are actually a combination of common sense and good tree care. Much of the hurricane or tropical storm damage to homes is caused by trees that either break apart or are uprooted. Make sure the trees you plant are species that have proven themselves wind-resistant, like live oak, magnolia and bald cypress. These selections are native to and grow well in the Tampa Bay area.
In addition to these long-term hurricane preparations, there are a few last-minute things you can do around your home and garden to protect them from these storms. Look around your yard for any and all loose, lightweight objects that are small enough to be brought inside. And if you’ve got a swimming pool, toss large objects like lawn furniture into it. The water will keep them from blowing about your yard and damaging it.
For the most part, the flowers and shrubs planted in your yard won’t require any storm preparation, but bear in mind that they might need some pruning, staking or even replanting afterward. Smaller potted plants, including hanging ones, should be brought inside.
If you’ve got large potted palms or trees, lay them on their sides with the tops of the trees pointing away from the expected direction of the strongest winds. Don’t wrap them in tarp to keep them safe because the wrapping can act like a sail and whip the plants around. Protect your expensive, fragile pots by wrapping cushioning material around them. Use bricks or wooden blocks to bolster the pots so they don’t roll or break or damage other plants. If you don’t have bricks, consider tying pots down.
There is not a lot you can do to protect your mulch in a hurricane or tropical storm. You should expect a large amount of mulch lost following a storm.
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