Trees: Storms and Urban Trees

Strong storms, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms, are a common and recurring part of life in the Tampa Bay region. These storms influence the way we organize our personal lives, and how we design our homes, and manage risk. Trees and forests have been the predominant form of vegetation in the region for as long as people can remember. They have adapted, and survived the extremes of draught and soil saturation, very high lightning frequency, and strong winds. While trees declined and died, and eventually fell they did not threaten human life or property.

What is new in Florida are our homes, businesses, and public utilities. Today the loss of large limbs, or the failure of an entire tree may pose a risk to our well-being. How to recognize trees that may pose a risk to life and property, and how to prevent trees from becoming hazardous, is important for all of us to understand.

Resources and strategies to help prevent damage are listed near the bottom of the page.

Also important is to have an understanding of how to deal with your trees following a strong storm. Are they damaged? Which ones can be saved? Which ones need to be removed? How to have the work done, and by whom? Deciding which species of trees to use to replace the lost trees, how and where they should be planted?

What we learned from recent hurricanes and tropical storms

(from Edward F. Gilman, associate professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS)

These are some of the lessons we learned from the recent hurricanes that struck the southeastern US. All photos were taken in Florida following hurricanes Charley and Frances.

Please also see our Preventing Tree Hazards page.