Landscapes & Hurricanes: Sarasota Weather

Sarasota Weather is not Always Pretty

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Sarasota Weather Hurricanes
A storm approaches Florida

Hurricanes have been few and far between in the recent years, but experts are saying that this “drought” is likely at its end. Could Sarasota weather be in for a big change?  It’s possible.  Because of the transition from El Niño to La Niña, residents are advised to prepare themselves for an active hurricane season. Gardeners and landscapers beware! The flooding and high winds that come with a hurricane or other tropical events can turn even the loveliest of landscapes into a dangerous minefield.  Here’s what you can do.

Preparing your Garden and Landscape

Proactive maintenance is the best way to prepare for tropical weather conditions and minimize damage.  In the summer, Sarasota weather can be fairly unpredictable.  Preparations should really start in spring, before the hurricane season starts. A major spring cleaning for any possible debris should be performed. Remove all dead or dying trees; trim weak branches; and reduce overgrown bushes.

Stake down any small trees and large shrubs planted within the last year.  You will use three or four stakes for each tree.  Each needs to be about two to three feet long. Drive the stakes into the ground to a depth of 18 – 24 inches, and keep them slanted away from the tree at a 45 degree angle. Make sure to allow the trees and shrubs some ability to move. This will ensure that the trees grow strong. These trees need to remain staked for three or four growing seasons.

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Sarasota weather can easily flood lawns

Clean out your drainage system too.  This includes ground drains and gutters.  Doing so will ensure fast and proper drainage of storm water.  Furthermore, if you have an irrigation system that is not equipped to shut off during rainfall, find out how to turn it off before the storm.  This won’t prevent flooding, but it will help.  Also, be aware of your area’s potential for salt spray.  Storm surge and waves can submerge plants that are not salt tolerant.  So, having a hose to flush your landscape with fresh water is a good idea.

When The Storm is Approaching

No matter how much you prepare, some things can’t be done until a storm threat is immanent.  For example, before a storm hits, remove potted plants, lawn equipment, small accents, and other loose items. In high winds, your favorite garden gnome can easily become a destructive missile. It is also important to harvest seeds and fruit that can become airborne.  Even if they aren’t ready to harvest, it is important to remove them.  The smallest overlooked item can have a devastating impact once the wind takes hold.

After The Storm

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sarasota weather damage
Damage after a storm

A hurricane is a destructive force. Your landscape is going to take damage. Flush salt affected areas with fresh water.  This helps your plants start to recover.  Some plants will survive, but some may not.  Don’t fret over lost plants, however.  Each loss is a chance to do it better.  Assess which plants survive and which don’t.  Consider replacing damaged non-native plants with natives that are more resistant to Sarasota weather trends.  Starting your hurricane preparation early is the best way to mitigate damage.

What to do with Yard Waste

Severe Sarasota weather creates a lot of waste.  From rubble to trash, landscapes quickly become cluttered.  One of the most overlooked problems is the green waste or yard waste that is generated.  This waste includes downed tree limbs, uprooted trees and shrubs, and even sod or mulch.  Did you know that sending this waste to the landfill can take up valuable space and even assist in creating toxic fumes and gases?  Did you also know that green waste is extremely recyclable?  If not, pay close attention.  When sorting through your debris, keep green waste separate from other trash.  This will make it easier to recycle at green waste recycling facilities like 1 Stop (click here to learn more).

Hurricanes are an inevitable part of Sarasota weather, a part of living in Florida. So, creating and maintaining a landscape that can hold up to the a tropical event will only help you in the long run.