Trim trees safely

By Max Mayfield - Hurricane Specialist
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MIAMI - One thing people who have experienced hurricanes remember is the downed trees.  Downed trees or tree limbs can block roads as well as fall on homes and buildings and, at times, even injure or kill people. 

I recently had my tree canopies thinned, hoping to decrease the probability of them being blown over and causing damage in case we get a hurricane this year. 

I'm not comfortable handling a chain saw up in my tall trees, so I hired a professional who came highly recommended.

I also had all the coconuts removed from my coconut palms.  I'm sure my neighbors will be thankful for that if a hurricane comes.

Power outages are a given after a hurricane.  One of the reasons for power outages is tree growth near power lines.  When the strong winds of a hurricane blow, it doesn't take much imagination to picture what will happen when the trees fall onto the power lines or even when the limbs of a tree whip against the lines.

Florida Power Light (FPL) has some good information on their web page related to trees and power lines.  FPL says its "strategy to maintain power lines free of tree growth is based on a consistent, planned trimming cycle."  On average, the main power lines (feeders) are cleared every three years and the neighborhood power lines (laterals) are cleared every six years. 

The FPL web site says "While only specially trained line-clearing professionals should work around power lines, you can always do your part in making sure that trees and other vegetation do not become an issue by routinely trimming the trees on your property that are away from power lines. Do not wait for a hurricane or any other major event as the debris from the trimming may become dangerous with storm-force winds. Never attempt to trim any vegetation growing near or on any overhead power lines."

The FPL web site also has helpful hints on its Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place program.

Note:  If you do have tree trimming that needs to be done, don't wait until a hurricane is headed our way to do it.

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