Environment

Prune trees before hurricane hits!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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In light of predictions for an active hurricane season, the Forestry Department yesterday issued a statement urging the public to begin pruning trees in their yards now, especially those in the urban areas where they may be growing close to buildings and houses.

“It is important that pruning is done from early. Persons should not wait until we have a storm warning or a hurricane watch to prune their trees as that may not be enough time and as a result, lives and properties are placed at unnecessary risk,” said silviculturist Lawrence Nelson.

The department is also urging the public to consult with qualified personnel to ensure the use of proper pruning techniques as the use of incorrect methods can negatively affect the overall health and lifespan of trees.

“There are techniques to the pruning process; it's not just about chopping off branches. When pruning we need to ensure that we do not expose the trees to fungus or termite infestation. If this happens, over time the tree starts decaying and this makes it vulnerable in extreme weather events,” Nelson noted.

He gave the following pruning tips:

• Do not make cuts that are flush with the tree trunk or main branches to which they were attached;

• Cut surfaces should be slightly slanted from the upper to the lower side of the branch;

• Where feasible, apply a fungicidal tincture (or plain paint) to the cut surface to retard rot or termite infestation;

• If a large branch overhangs a buildings or other infrastructure, the incremental removal of small, manageable pieces will decrease the danger of damage to roofs or other structure; and

• Root pruning — which maximises a tree's stability and resistance to high winds — should only be done by a professional and should be avoided during the hurricane season since it often requires heavy-duty machinery.

The agency pointed out, however, that pruning is not only necessary before a hurricane, but may also be critical in the aftermath of a storm, and urged the public to do the necessary checks in both circumstances.

The Forestry Department said that while it does not offer tree-pruning services, it offers advice on the best types of trees to plant in a particular area and tips on to how to plant and care for a tree.

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