Precautionary Pruning of Trees Urged for the Hurricane Season

Story Highlights

  • Overhanging trees are often regarded as an enhancement to the beauty, luxury and comfort of homes and business places, both as rich sources of fruits as well providing welcomed shading from the sun. However, these extended limbs can become dangerous elements during a storm or hurricane.
  • Director of the Metrological Service of Jamaica, Evan Thompson, projects that the 2017 season will be very active with the formation of 11 to 17 tropical systems, up to nine are expected to develop into hurricanes, with at least four likely to reach the dangerous category three strength or greater.

Overhanging trees are often regarded as an enhancement to the beauty, luxury and comfort of homes and business places, both as rich sources of fruits as well providing welcome shading from the sun.

However, these extended limbs can become dangerous elements during a storm or hurricane.

Director of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, Evan Thompson, projects that the 2017 season will be very active with the formation of 11 to 17 tropical systems, of which up to nine are expected to develop into hurricanes, with at least four likely to reach the dangerous category three strength or greater.

Forest Technician at the Department, Deon Brown, emphasizes that doing reduces wind resistance within the canopy of  trees and the likelihood of limbs breaking and being tossed, given the erratic nature of strong winds accompanying a storm or hurricane.

“One of the impacts on trees in a hurricane is that it can topple over. So if the tree is in close proximity (to a building), you can lessen the damage by removing some of the branches because sometimes they might get entangled in electric wires and could cause all kinds of problems,” she points out.

Miss Brown urges persons not to resort to willy-nilly hacking of trees, but rather to consult with qualified tree-care professional to ensure that proper pruning methods are employed.

She emphasises that incorrect methods can affect the overall health and lifespan of trees.

Miss Brown advises that when pruning, care must be taken to protect the sections of trees where cuts or incisions have been made to avoid exposure to fungus or termite infestation which could compromise it by causing decay, thereby rendering it vulnerable in extreme weather.

President of the Incorporated MasterBuilders Association, Humphrey Taylor, also underscores the importance of pruning trees and doing so properly.

While arguing that trees should not be planted close to buildings, he says where this is the case, pruning must be a foremost safety consideration.

Mr. Taylor acknowledges that some homeowners resist the idea of cutting trees because they think it may lose its beauty. However, he assures that “it will grow back.”

Meanwhile, the Forestry Department has issued guidelines which it says should be followed when pruning a tree.

These include not making cuts that are flush with the tree trunk or main branches to which they are attached. Additionally, incisions should be slightly slanted from the upper to the lower side of the branch.

The Department further recommends that, where feasible, a fungicidal tincture (or plain paint) be applied to the area of the incision to retard or prevent rot or termite infestation.

Additionally, is says where large branches overhang buildings or other infrastructure, incremental removal of small, manageable pieces of limbs will decrease the potential threat of damage.

For further information, persons may contact the Forestry Department at 173 Constant Spring Road in Kingston or call them at 924-2667 or consult the nearest tree care professional or company.

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