It was Summer in Florida. For many of us that means tank tops, flip flops, and sandy beaches. But for us in the environmental industry we think primarily of one thing: hurricane season. As Floridians, we’re accustomed to hearing the annual warning calls from our local meteorologists. Probably too accustomed, which is why we rarely see an early-June run on bottled water, canned beans, plywood, and generators. I speak from experience when I say that the meteorologists are right and preparation is key. On Friday, August 13th, 2004, Hurricane Charley barreled down on the Bay Area. And this time, many of us did heed the call, along with all of our friends, neighbors, family members, and fellow residents. The stores were packed as thousands of people scrambled to get things in order before the storm hit. But supply fell victim to demand and stores quickly ran out of needed goods. Still, the situation here was not nearly as bad as it was for our neighbors to the south. We dodged the storm that time, but the citizens of Charlotte County did not as winds reaching over 150 mph hit landfall in Punta Gorda, FL. The residents of Punta Gorda were caught completely unaware and the devastation left behind was remarkable. Today, those Floridians need no reminder that Hurricane season is coming. You could say their meteorologists have it comparatively easy.

But what does all of this have to do with the environmental industry? In your preparation gathering food, batteries, and supplies for your home, we remind you that this is also an important time to secure your outside property. Pruning your trees in preparation for hurricane season will likely help you to avoid costly damage in the long run. Mary Harrison, professor in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida, agrees:

“Dead, dying, and diseased trees cause severe damage during hurricanes and severe storms. During last summer’s hurricanes, trees falling on rooftops, cars, and utility lines caused millions of dollars in damages. Tree pruning and removal should be done by a licensed tree service with adequate liability insurance. Get written estimates from two or more services and a description of work to be done before hiring anyone. Remember to include cleanup and trash removal. Never pay for work before it’s completed and you are satisfied with the work. Giving attention to trees before they become a problem can save a family hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars and what could potentially become months of stressful cleanup and recovery.”

It’s Summer in Florida. Soak up the sun, have fun at the beach, relax; and in the meantime consider calling a certified arborist. A short term decision for tree inspection can benefit your home, property, and peace of mind for a long time.

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