Hurricane-Related Tree Care

Before a Storm

It is important to prepare your trees for tropical storms BEFORE hurricane season. Proper pruning will help trees to weather a storm and will help to minimize any damage to the tree and any neighboring property. There is a right way and wrong way to prune trees and that is why it is important to hire a certified arborist who can assist you. With proper care, much of the worst damage to trees and property can be prevented.

  • Customers are asked to avoid performing significant vegetative cutting when there is a storm approaching. Debris not collected can cause damage if it becomes airborne, and it can also block drainage basins which causes flooding.
  • Remember that tree trimming contractors are required to remove their trimmings.
  • Once a hurricane warning has been issued, collection service will be suspended. DO NOT place any vegetation at the curb, even if it is your regular pick-up day, as any remaining debris has the potential to cause considerable damage.

Preparing Trees Before

Storm-proofing your yard is all about effective pruning - not too much and not too little - which is why it is always advisable to hire a certified arborist. 

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, there are 5 suggestions for pruning a tree that will promote the growth of strong branches:

  • Encourage good branch angles.
    For most trees, narrow angles between two branches signal a point of future weakness. A good rule of thumb for many is to keep the angles at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock.
  • Encourage strong branch/trunk size relationship.
    Ideally, lateral branches should be no more than 1/2 to 1/4 the diameter of the trunk.
  • Maintain a stable center of gravity.
    The center of gravity for a tree should be over the trunk. Remove branches on the leaning side and encourage branch growth on the opposite side.
  • Remove temporary branches.
    This includes rubbing branches, suckers, and water sprouts.
  • Don't cut branches back to stubs.
    Long, natural limbs on a tree are strong and can withstand storm-like conditions. If a branch needs to be removed, cut it back to the main branch or to the tree's trunk.

After a Storm

Strong winds and rainfall after a tropical system may leave many residents and businesses with trees that are severely damaged or at high risk. The following is a list to help ensure the lawful removal of trees with your health and safety in mind.

Please note:
Trees posing an imminent threat to public safety or property, or a severely damaged tree that has suffered permanent loss of 50% or more of its canopy, does not require a permit for removal.

  • Put safety first.
    Take all safety precautions including the use of full personal protective equipment when removing trees. Stay away from loose or dangling powerlines and be on the lookout for loose tree branches, parts of buildings, or other types of debris when you are outside. If branches are too close or touching a utility line, report it immediately to your local utility company. NEVER attempt to move down utility lines or trees touching utility lines.
  • Assess tree damage
    Evaluate all damaged trees to determine whether the tree(s) need to be totally removed or if it can be saved. This may not be something you can do on your own. It is best to have a certified arborist or tree care professional assist you with this. Find an ISA Certified Arborist in your area or call 888-472-8733.
  • Repair or removal of trees.
    Whether you decide to remove or repair the tree(s) yourself or hire a professional, it is important that the process is done safely and legally. We understand that there are situations that may require the immediate need to remove a hazardous tree that poses a danger to personal property. In these cases, it is important to document the condition of the tree with pictures and/or video to show evidence of damage and/or hazards, and then remove the tree. Call 954-831-4000 (954-831-3940 for TTY) to report trees that are blocking roads.
  • Hat racking.
    It is illegal and dangerous to hat rack a tree. It may be a tempting fix to a tree that has been damaged by a storm, but it will only damage the tree more making it a future hazard.
  • Unlicensed tree trimmers.
    After the storm, you are bound to see people driving in the City offering to trim or remove trees. Do not hire an unlicensed person! It is for your safety that tree trimmers are licensed and insured. Any damage that they do to your property, your neighbor's property, or the cities property, will be the homeowner's responsibility. Always ask for a Broward County Tree Trimmers identification card.
  • Debris removal.
    Any vegetation or debris should be placed at the curb in front of your home for pickup. Separate the tree debris from roofing materials, metals, etc. as tree debris will be picked up first.