Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

We are trying to select trees to grow along the street areas of our homeowner association and were told not use Chinese elms as they can easily get uprooted during a storm.  What do you think?  Is that a true statement? 

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We learned quite a few lessons after the four hurricanes came across Florida in 2004.  Chinese elms, along with Bradford pears, Leyland cypress, water and laurel oaks and the Washington fan palm are the least wind resistant in our area. The most resistant to the wind were dogwood, crape myrtle, holly (American, yaupon, dahoon), magnolia, oak (sand, live, turkey), bald cypress, podocarpus, sparkleberry, and some of the palms (Pindo, Canary Island Date, date, cabbage).  Our native winged elm fell into the medium resistance group along with Japanese maple, river birch, red bud, fringe tree, and several other oaks. Attached is the full list of high resistance to low resistance according to the area of Florida. However, it is important to keep all trees in the best health.  Even the strongest resistant trees can fall if the roots of the tree have been compromised by construction or other environmental factors.  Remember, do not allow mulch to pile up against the trunk of any tree or shrub as this can lead to water damage on the trunk and potentially introduce disease.  Over pruning or improper pruning, even if it is called “hurricane cutting”, may cause more damage and make the tree susceptible to failure.  Trees should not be shaped like gum drops, hat racks or lollipops.  Be sure to call a certified arborist when it is necessary for your trees to be pruned.


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