Take steps to save trees on your property

Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:35 AM
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 @ 10:08 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

            Take steps to save trees on your property
A large ficus tree fell on Nancy Dillard's Sewell's Point home during Hurricane Frances in 2004. (David Spencer/The Post)

You may be able to save smaller trees of less than 10-inch diameter that are down or partially blown over.

Cover their roots (but not with plastic) and keep the tiny root hairs wet until they can be uprighted. Don’t cut roots still in the ground.

With shade gone, plant tissues heat up in the afternoon, causing sunburn. A cooling spray of water in the late afternoon will help cool them down. Stake trees securely.

Give your tree some ‘sunscreen.’ Its leaves are like clothes. Without them, trees begin to suffer from sun scald (an arboreal version of sunburn).

Pile brush, soil, a tarp or sphagnum moss on trunk and major limbs. For small trees, try splitting a length of plastic pipe lengthwise and sliding it onto the trunk.

Securing the tree

Set the tree in soil at the same level it was before the storm. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball. Fill it with water.

Pull up the tree using a cloth sling or the backs of several friends. (Don’t use wires, chains or cables that may snap, injuring bystanders.)

Tamp in soil around roots while spraying with full pressure of garden hose to eliminate air pockets. Back fill with soil from the site. Keep watering until all bubbles cease.

Stake trees securely.

Pruning and fertilizing

Concentrate on salvageable trees. It’s a waste of effort to try to save large trees with split trunks or broken main limbs.

Prune downed trees heavily to compensate for root damage and reduce a tree’s weight to stand it up. Remove damaged or dangling limbs, using the “three-cut method” for big limbs. Don’t “hatrack” trees. Not only is it illegal, but it eventually creates top-heavy trees that will go down more easily in the next storm. Always try to prune back to an area of the tree where a smaller, lateral limb has sprouted.

Leave broken and dangling palm fronds, if possible. If trimming is necessary, cut them in half and see if the palm recovers. 

This also will reduce the tree’s need for water and nutrients while recovering. Remember, even brown and broken fronds are still providing food for the tree. It may take six months for new growth to emerge, and up to two years before palms have a full canopy again. Without sufficient rainfall, recovering palms will need to be watered three times a week for six weeks.

With other trees, trim the canopy back by one-half to two-thirds to reduce water loss. Always trim back to healthy tissue, using sharp, clean implements.

Don’t use pruning or wound paint. Treating a tree’s wound with copper fungicide, however, may help prevent fungus.

After a month, fertilize lightly, making sure the mix has potassium and magnesium. Spray palm buds with fungicide to prevent bud rot.

Fallen branches

Do not be quick to remove fallen branches or palm fronds, which provide shade while plants acclimate to a suddenly sunny garden.

Fallen leaves should be removed as fast as possible. They quickly form a rotting mat that blocks light from plants and grass beneath, and encourages the growth of fungus.

Keep in mind that it could be weeks before downed limbs and other vegetation is picked up.

Remember, no matter how bad the storm, almost everything grows back.

— Barbara Marshall

Storm prep checklist for outside the home

Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:53 AM
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 @ 2:53 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

            Storm prep checklist for outside the home
Get Ahead of the Storm - 5 Severe Weather Hacks


Refill special medications.

Get cash (ATMs may not work for days after). Don’t charge credit cards to the limit; you might need extra cash after the storm.

Get supplies. Follow instructions in this guide for food and water.

Don’t fill gasoline cans until right before the storm; they are a fire hazard.

Fill vehicle fuel tank. Gas stations could run out and some will not have power to run pumps. Check your car’s battery, water, oil. Make sure you have a spare tire and buy aerosol kits that fix and inflate flats.

Check fire extinguishers.

If you own a boat, make necessary preparations.

Prepare your pool. Don’t drain it.

If you own a plane, have it flown out or secured.


Get shutters, storm panels or plywood in place on windows. If you haven’t installed sockets, attach with wood screws; they’re better than nails and do less damage.

Don’t tape windows; tape can create daggers of glass and in the heat can later bake onto panes.

Remove swings and tarps from swing sets. Tie down anything you can’t bring in. Check for loose rain gutters, moldings.

Move grills, patio furniture and potted plants into your house or garage.

If you do any last-minute pruning, take clippings inside so they don’t become hazards in the wind.

Disconnect and remove satellite dish or antenna from your roof.

Check your mailbox. If it’s loose, secure or remove it.

Remove roof turbines and cap holes with screw-on caps. Unsecured turbines can fly off and create a large hole for rain to pour through.

Prepare patio screening. It usually is built to sustain tropical-force winds, but with higher winds, it can separate from the frame. Officials recommend you remove a 6-foot panel on each side to let wind pass through. Pull out the tubing that holds screening in frame to remove screen.

Secure and brace external doors, especially the garage door and double doors.

Move vehicles out of flood-prone areas and into garages if possible. If not, park cars away from trees and close to homes or buildings.

Don’t turn off your natural gas at the main meter. Only emergency or utility people should do that.

Shutters and window coverings

Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:53 AM
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 @ 4:12 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

Shutters and window coverings

Shutters require regular maintenance

Do a trial run now to make sure your shutter system is functioning properly.

If you have removable panels, get them out to see if any are missing or bent.

Make sure you have enough mounting fasteners. If not, hardware stores often carry extras. Make sure mounting tracks are clean and debris-free.

Apply some light machine oil to lubricate parts and deter rust.

Permanently applied shutter systems, such as roll-up, Bahama or accordion shutters should be serviced yearly (twice yearly, if you live on the beach) by a professional, especially if the system is motorized. If rollers are accessible, they can be sprayed with aerosol “white grease,” according to Bill Feeley, president of the International
Hurricane Protection Association. All motors should be professionally serviced.

Owners of newly built homes with shutter systems should make sure their builder demonstrates how to use the system and that all parts are provided before moving in. Missing or wrong-sized components are common, according to Feeley. “The homeowner assumes they fit and then when the storm is bearing down, they find out they don’t,” he said.

— Barbara Marshall

Contact numbers

International Hurricane Protection Association: (844)516-4472, www.inthpa.com

American Shutter Systems Association: 800-432-2204, www.amshutter.org


Least expensive option: Plywood

Shutter orders and backlogs rise near the height of storm season. So the time to choose your coverings, if you haven’t already, is now. The least expensive option is plywood.

Plywood does not meet Florida Building Code specifications unless it’s installed according to code.

To ensure code compliance, you’ll need a permit from your local building department.

However, if a storm is close and survival is the goal, follow instructions in the accompanying graphic for correct installation.

What’s the best roof?

Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:53 AM
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 @ 4:28 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

Age and improper installation caused most roof failures in the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes.

Which kinds survived?
  • Metal roofs had the fewest problems, followed by tiles applied with concrete or foam adhesive.
  • Nailed-on tiles didn’t fare as well.
  • Shingle roofs came off in the thousands.

    When was your roof installed? Roofs installed after the mid-1990s, when building codes began to change statewide after Hurricane Andrew, survived better than those installed earlier.

    Shingle roofs

    How old is your shingle roof? Shingles become brittle and lose adhesion in the Florida sun after about 12 years even if they were properly installed. Has your shingle roof been re-roofed on top of old shingles? If so, beware. Large segments of those newer layers flew off in the high winds.

    Tile roofs

    How was your roof tile applied? Tiles applied with only concrete or foam adhesive fared better than nailed-on or screwed-on tiles, which can begin leaking after seven to 10 years. As with shingles, age affects performance.

    Flat roofs

    How many layers or ‘plys’ make up your flat roof? A three- or four-ply interlining (under the roof coating) is generally better than two. Expect a multi-layered flat roof to last 15 to 18 years.

    Metal roofs

    Is your metal roof properly attached? Metal roofs are the most expensive but also proved to be the most hurricane-resistant.

    If the roofers used the correct attachment method, either screws or clips, the wind will have a difficult time getting underneath metal roof panels.


    Do roof sealants and coatings help protect roofs from high winds? “I don’t recommend them,” says Joe Byrne, a roofing industry consultant and owner of Byrne Roofing in West Palm Beach, who says sealants can make shingles more brittle, affecting adhesion.

    Where to verify a roofer’s valid license:
  • State licenses: www.myflorida.com
  • Palm Beach County: (561) 233-5525, www.pbcgov.com/pzb
  • Martin County: (772) 288-5482
  • St. Lucie County: (772) 462-1672 or (772) 462-1673
  • Okeechobee: (863) 763-5548
  • Price-gouging hot line: (866) 966-7226
  • Report unlicensed contractors at (866) 532-1440
    — Barbara Marshall
  • Interactive: Home inspection tips

    Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2016 @ 1:53 AM
    Published: Sunday, May 10, 2015 @ 4:39 PM
    By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com