Preparation for and recovery from hurricanes and windstorms for tropical fruit trees in the South Florida home landscape

Jonathan H. Crane, Carlos F. Balerdi


There are hundreds of thousands of tropical and subtropical fruit trees planted in the home landscapes of south Florida. Many of these trees were quite old (>20 years old) and large prior to the recent hurricanes experienced in south Florida during 2004 and 2005. However, many trees are less than 12 years old having been planted post hurricane Andrew (1992) and after the citrus eradication program (1995). If possible, fruit trees planted in the home landscape should be placed away from other trees, buildings, structures, and power lines. Trees already established in the landscape should be pruned annually to open up the canopy to air movement and to control tree size which will minimize potential damage to the trees and nearby structures and landscape. The tropical/subtropical fruit tree recovery rate from the devastating effects of hurricanes and tropical storms is influenced by the severity of tree damage, wind intensity and direction of the storm, tree condition, rainfall amounts and flooding duration (if that occurred), time of year of the storm and subsequent weather conditions following the storm. Depending upon the extent of storm damage (e.g., limb breakage, toppling) fruit trees should be pruned to remove dead or heavily damaged wood, facilitate resetting of toppled trees, or removed completely. After a storm, fertilizer and watering regimes may need to be modified to facilitate regrowth and recovery of damaged trees. Recommendations for specific fruit crops vary and will be discussed.


tropical storms; typhoons; cyclones

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283

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