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Is Hurricane Prep For Palms A Thing?


D. Morrowii
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I’ve prepped for a few hurricanes in the 9 years I’ve been here in Florida but this is the first time I’ve had think about the effects on my leaf babies. So far (last 2 years) I’ve only been planning for cold events and I guess wind is the main threat in a hurricane? Unless of course it floods. 

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Not sure what prep or what palms.

I read a long time back in Principes that torsional loading of Phoenix palms was studied under hurricane conditions with the conclusion that the more leaves, the better.

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Good to know. I actually hacked a bunch of leaves off my palms before Irma hit which was detrimental overall because a freeze followed in January leaving the palms doubly damaged. I won’t be doing that again. All of my palms were started as 1 to 5 gallon pots and have extensive roots at this point.  I think they will be fine without doing anything and I don’t have the resources and time to do anything anyway. My house that gets spanked by palm fronds that are close to the roof and soffit is another story… I may cut some of those back. 

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Parrish, FL

Zone 9B

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My plan is to cut off any dead fronds that I have been ignoring.  I may trim off a few fronds earlier than normal, but only if they are yellowed or are a danger to other nearby stuff like the house or other nearby plants.  So there are a few Bismarck fronds that will go early because they are already trying to crush other adjacent palms and cycads.  Otherwise it is mostly business as usual.

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Hurricane prep. UGH

 

Yes it is a "thing" for the uninformed landscapers in Central Florida, of which - I would say- comprise approximately 90% of them. They make a good living trimming palms for "hurricane prep" 

 

I cringe when I see I see the hurricane trim on palms. It is not necessary nor is it healthy.

 

I have seen- all along the Gulf and Atlantic coast- Washingtonia that have never been trimmed- and are in areas that have been exposed to hurricane force winds over a period of years. The skirt of the tree is usually intact and presents (in my opinion) a fine looking specimen. The skirt also provides rich habitat for bats, squirrels, birds etc etc etc........

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Melbourne Beach, Florida on the barrier island -two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and 6 homes from the Indian River Lagoon

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I've found many species of palms, esp. Sabals & Roystonea, deal with hurricanes very well. Palms are able to "give way" to storm winds and will bend with the wind whereas dicot/true trees are much more rigid and prone to break, fall and uproot. I lost maybe 4 palms to Irma while every one of my husband's flowering trees was destroyed or seriously damaged - 25-30 large trees. Cost us $3,000+ to have those trees removed or salvaged. Many palms will allow fronds to break away to spare themselves fatal damage.

Our house, surrounded by palms on all sides, suffered zero damage from Irma. We never lost electricity. So far, no hurricane has been able to penetrate Sabal Row.

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Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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I probably should have clarified. I was mostly thinking about smaller plantings. I have several palms between 1 and 8 feet tall that have only been in the ground for a few months to maybe 1 1/2 years. I was wondering about wrapping, tying back fronds, covering or digging up.
Maybe I need to grow one of these “Sabal Rows” you speak of Meg. 

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@D. Morrowii I am a bit concerned about some of my larger-fronded Encephalartos, specifically the Laurentianus.  But a lot of big cycads survived just fine at Fairchild during hurricanes, so probably they will be fine.  Small plants are probably short enough that the sustaines winds won't be too high.  In my yard I think the 10-20' tall Alfredii are probably at the highest risk, since they are known to fall over in storms.  I had to stake up two of them after the last hurricane went up the East coast, with sustained 50 to 60mph winds here.  At that level I saw no other damage in the yard except for a couple of random broken fronds.

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On 9/23/2022 at 5:22 PM, ruskinPalms said:

Good to know. I actually hacked a bunch of leaves off my palms before Irma hit which was detrimental overall because a freeze followed in January leaving the palms doubly damaged. I won’t be doing that again. All of my palms were started as 1 to 5 gallon pots and have extensive roots at this point.  I think they will be fine without doing anything and I don’t have the resources and time to do anything anyway. My house that gets spanked by palm fronds that are close to the roof and soffit is another story… I may cut some of those back. 

Tbh. Never trim any leaves of any palm during hurricane season. Even dead leaves. The worst mistake one can make is trim a nice palm nicely then a decent hurricane hits and your only left with one leaf that didn’t break. I have customers all the time that ask for trimming of palms right before a hurricane and it’s really common for most to think it’s beneficial. 

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2 hours ago, Brian mac said:

Tbh. Never trim any leaves of any palm during hurricane season. Even dead leaves. The worst mistake one can make is trim a nice palm nicely then a decent hurricane hits and your only left with one leaf that didn’t break. I have customers all the time that ask for trimming of palms right before a hurricane and it’s really common for most to think it’s beneficial. 

Dead fronds can easily detach and become flying debris in a hurricane.  If they are dead they are going to fall off soon anyway.  Why not remove them now (and any loose boots) now instead of risking them becoming a hazard...and likely making a mess anyway? 

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I hate to admit it but when we first moved into the house were in now a landscaper easily talked me into “hurricane cutting” the 6 Sabal palmetto we have here. Not until I started talking to palm people did I find out the hurricane cut was a farce. 

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Due to the timing of this one, I will not do a thing. I assume your yard waste pick up day is also Friday, which will likely get canceled. I saw this happen a few years ago. My idiot neighbors had their maple tree ‘hurricane cut’ right before the storm and they never picked up. It blew all over the place and then sat there for weeks.

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4 hours ago, Merlyn said:

Dead fronds can easily detach and become flying debris in a hurricane.  If they are dead they are going to fall off soon anyway.  Why not remove them now (and any loose boots) now instead of risking them becoming a hazard...and likely making a mess anyway? 

That’s just what I do for hurricanes I guess it doesn’t make sense to leave dead fronds on, I just have always thought maybe it would protect a minuscule amount. But I doubt it. And the boots I don’t leave on. Or seed pods. Guess I’m the end everyone has their own ways. 

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I removed the 50 or coconuts from my palms, didn’t want them to become flying bombs. Moved a lot of stuff into secure areas. Waiting to see our outlook tomorrow and make the final move of plants into garage. 

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How will various tropical palms fare from being inundated with storm surge? Tampa Bay will probably see its share of young palms under water

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