Guest Column

Kathy’s Gardening Guide: Hurricane preparation for your landscape


The Ponte Vedra area luckily seems to have fared well during Hurricane Idalia. But it is important to be prepared during this time of year! Hurricane season in Florida begins June 1st and runs through November 30th; the hurricane “peak” is September 10th.

Though we hope for a quiet season each year, it is important to take steps to prepare your home and yard for a hurricane. Good preparation can help minimize damage in the event that a storm does arrive! Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for possible hurricanes:

  • Prune shrubs and bushes away from the house. Branches that are too long can damage siding.
  • Make sure all tree limbs and palm fronds are trimmed high and away from the house. Prune low hanging limbs that could damage shingles or siding and remove any dead limbs that could fly off in heavy wind.
  • Mow the lawn! Shorter grass will not accumulate as much debris as longer, more overgrown yards.
  • Clean up debris or miscellaneous items from the yard. When winds begin to pick up, this will help minimize flying objects that could hit your home.
  • Stake any plants or trees that are top heavy such as standard bottle brush or standard cassia as well as any topiaries.
  • Remove yard decor such as pottery, trellises, yard art, swings, and lawn furniture if possible. Otherwise, secure or anchor down these items with sandbags, bungee cords, etc. in preparation for high winds.
  • Wait until after storm season to replace mulch as it can wash away with heavy rains. Pine straw can be placed around the beds to help keep bark mulch in place as much as possible.
  • Make sure all drainage lines are clear. Clean out gutters and storm drains so that they are able to work properly. Check gutters to ensure that they are securely attached to the house and can direct water away from the foundation.
  • If there is a hurricane near, turn off all irrigation systems. Although most systems have a rain shut-off device, do not depend on this trigger during/after a hurricane. This shut-off device will dry out more quickly than the soil and allow irrigation to resume when the soil is still saturated. Heavy rains can bring significant amounts of water, causing roots to loosen and trees to fall. Too much water can also lead to disease problems for grass, plants, and trees. After the storm, allow your yard to dry out for 3-4 days before turning on the irrigation system.
  • Always know where your water main is located and how to turn it off in an emergency. If there is a special tool needed to turn off, be sure to pick up that item now.

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Please email Kathy at for any questions or gardening tips you would like to see in the future. For more information and ideas, visit Kathy’s Creative Gardens & Nursery, 196 N. Roscoe Blvd. The phone number is 904-655-7373.