Stormy weather can wreak havoc on your garden, so it’s important to take precautions that will help it survive a tornado. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to give your plants a fighting chance.
One of the best ways to protect your outdoor plants from a tornado is to choose wind-resistant trees and shrubs. Other tips include covering plants and pruning dead limbs.
Plant Wind-Resistant Trees
If you live in an area that is vulnerable to tornadoes, it is important to plant wind-resistant trees. This is because wind can cause limbs to break off and fall on cars, homes or other structures.
One way to make a tree more resistant to wind is by pruning it regularly. This will help it develop a stronger branching structure and improve its natural canopy.
While many trees, including pear trees, willows, sycamores and eucalyptus, are susceptible to high winds, some species are especially wind-resistant. Some of these are silver maples and American oaks.
Other wind-resistant tree species include bald cypress, crape myrtle, live oak and southern magnolia. These trees are native to the Southeast and are known for their resistance to hurricane-force winds.
A few well-placed overturned planter pots, laundry baskets, glass cloches and buckets can go a long way towards protecting your prized possessions from the whims of Mother Nature. You may want to weigh them down with rocks or cement blocks if the winds are particularly brisk. Wrapping large plants in the right kind of material, be it burlap or floating row cover will trump the smaller and lesser known options. Be sure to tie the covered plant to its stakes with twine or string of the appropriate length to keep it in place if the wind does decide to blow.
Lastly, take the time to monitor the weather and act accordingly as soon as the storm starts to stir. The more you can do to prepare the ground before a tornado hits the better off you’ll be. The best tornado-proofing measures should be taken daily and incorporated into the routine, so you’re ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
Pruning trees regularly, including cutting out dead or diseased limbs, can help them resist strong winds and reduce the risk of them snapping off during tornadoes. Removing dead or diseased limbs can also make a tree less brittle, which helps it better withstand storm damage and heal quicker afterward.
When pruning, remember to keep in mind the plant’s landscape feature and desired shape or form. The time, method and type of pruning you use will depend on your specific goals for the plant.
Generally, prune after the landscape feature of a plant is completed and before berries begin to fade on shrubs with spring-flowering blooms or after berries appear on plants with fall-flowering foliage. When pruning (thinning), cut away branches with spent flowers or berries, but leave branches that are still healthy and producing flower buds for next year’s blooming season.
Move Potted Plants
When you’re moving your houseplants or container garden, it’s best to use a waterproof membrane on the floor of your vehicle to protect them from spilled water. This is especially true if you’re hauling a hefty load in your van or SUV.
Alternatively, you can place the pots directly into your car’s trunk, where they will be safely contained and stowed until you’re ready to move them. This works particularly well if your pots have small openings and/or are made of plastic.
For the most part, it’s a good idea to plan for a rainy day in advance so that you can move your plants with the least amount of stress on them. In addition, having your plants ready to go will save you a ton of time once the storm has passed. Be sure to check your local weather forecasts on a regular basis and be prepared for the worst. With some planning and a bit of luck, you’ll be able to enjoy your garden without any trouble!