Hurricane Irma Landscape To Do List

Hurricane Irma Landscape To Do List

Hurricane Irma has left Central Florida; however, in its wake the storm caused havoc in the home landscape.  The gardening experts at the City of Orlando’s Leu Gardens have put together a list of gardening hints that may make the cleanup go a little faster and a little safer.

  • It isofficially autumn and trees and shrubs may not grow any more until next spring.  Keep that in mind as you trim damaged plants.  Trim any damaged branches with a smooth, clean cut made with sharp tools.
  • To prevent equipment damage to equipment and to lessen fatigue, branches under ½” in diameter should be cut withhand pruners, ½ -¾” with long handled loppers and larger branches should be cut with a saw designed to trim plants.
  • When pruning palm trees inspect the undersideof the fronds for paper wasp nests.
  • When considering hiring a company to perform tree pruning or removal, be certain they are registered as arborists with International Society of Arboriculture. Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the science of tree care through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care. Certified Arborists must also adhere to a Code of Ethics.  Steer clear of those companies without ISA certification – they could create long term tree problems.
  • Despite all rain we have had during the last several weeks, weather forecastsindicate a week of dry weather.  Manyplants, especially those growing in pots will need water.
  • Turf grass has been under stress both from the wet weather and high winds.  Keep an eye out for chinch bugs and sod web worms and treat as needed.  After a summer long hiatus, fertilizer can be applied to turf and shrubs again.
  • As you work out in the yardbe mindful of fire ants and carpenter ants.  Fire ants have created new hills in new areas and many colonies of carpenter ants have been disturbed during the storm.  Treat as needed.  Snakes of all kinds are more common in the yard now.  Their primary food source, field mice, have been displaced.  Let them do their job and they will move along when the food is gone.  And they’re free!
  • Check tree roots for hurricane Irma damage.  If there is a slight rise in the soil level on the opposite side of the direction of where the tree is leaning, it may have to be removed – especially large trees.  After Hurricane Charley, Leu Gardens lost several dozen “leaning” small trees despite efforts by its expert horticulture staff to replant them. It may be difficult to remove an otherwise healthy tree but replanting another tree may be best in the long run
  • Despite the recent storms gardening still goes on.  This month begins the fall vegetable garden season – the most productive time of the year.  Tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, beans, corn, broccoli, and cabbage can be planted now.
  • Orchids and air plants that were attached to trees and fell to the ground during the storm can be reattached now. Check and see if they need to be divided and save yourself a step later on.