Planting Storm-Safe Trees

Anyone who has witnessed a hurricane’s wrath knows what a powerful punch the storms pack. Seemingly sturdy trees can be uprooted like dandelions, their trunks snapped like toothpicks. And airborne branches can become projectiles, causing serious damage to property. Thankfully, planting certain tree species with an inherent resilience to these kinds of natural disasters can help minimize a hurricane’s toll.

Here’s how to protect your home from falling trees:

  1. Choose naturally wind-resistant trees, such as live oak and maple. Avoid brittle species, such as silk oak and eucalyptus, which can lose branches or even split apart in high winds.
  2. When planting, give your trees plenty of deep soil in which to anchor themselves. Avoid shallow-rooted varieties, like vera wood and Australian pine.
  3. Arrange trees in clusters rather than rows. Groups of five or more trees stand a better chance of surviving a hurricane than solitary trees or those planted in a straight line.
  4. Trim existing trees before hurricane season and remove ones that are already old, dead, unhealthy or damaged. The University of Florida offers precise pruning tips to enhance wind resistance. And if any of your trees topple during a storm, replace them with young healthy ones, taking the previous pointers into account.

For additional advice on preparing for a storm, visit the Catastrophe Center at

By David Wright