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Educational Videos For Home Sellers and Buyers

We think that you'll find these videos to be very informative.  If you are ready to buy or sell your home on the east coast of Florida, please Contact Us.

Landscaping

 

We all know that we need to prepare our homes for these powerful storms, but have you ever thought about preparing your landscape for a hurricane?

Although a lot of damage to structures is caused by strong hurricane winds, damage can also occur from failing trees and flying landscape debris during a storm. Flying branches and toppling trees can cause property damage, injuries and even death. Every year falling trees and limbs cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Building codes along the Treasure Coast, Port St. Lucie, Palm City, Stuart and the Palm Beaches exist to reduce damage from strong winds and high water, but there are no standards for designing and maintaining hurricane-resistant landscapes.

 

Preparing trees for a natural disaster is a must and should be done well in advance of the storm season. To help ease these dangers, have a professional arborist evaluate your trees. Doing this will help you determine potential weaknesses and dangers. Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, ice storm or wildfire – trees that are old, weak, diseased, improperly maintained or just in the wrong place can be a dangerous hazard to your home. Remember, too, that a tree is a living thing, and its integrity and stability change over time, so don't assume that a tree that has survived nine severe storms will necessarily survive a tenth.

 

Here are some suggestions to protect your landscaping throughout storm season:

 

Choose the Right Trees

It is possible to create a landscape that can reduce hurricane and storm damage to structures and plantings by choosing the right plants and maintaining them properly.  Storm-sustaining trees should be selected for their root development, mass, density and growth characteristics. Most of the trees and plants found in the Treasure Coast, Port St. Lucie, Palm City, Stuart and Palm Beaches are good choices. These plants have proved resistant to strong winds by surviving previous storms. City foresters, county extension offices, local nurseries and landscape firms can provide advice on tree selection for your area and soil conditions.

 

Learn how to care for your trees

Proper maintenance needs to be practiced during the life of any tree. The first step is to provide the tree with good growing conditions and to keep it as healthy as you can, free of insects and diseases. Proper pruning needs to be maintained. Remove any dead, diseased or damaged parts of the tree before the spread of disease or harmful insects weaken or destroy your tree.

 

Learn how to spot potential problems early on

Look at the overall condition of the trees in your landscape and regularly check your trees for signs of damage or disease. Trees that are one-sided or leaning should be pruned to balance out the canopy. After the prolonged rain associated with many hurricanes, the soil may be so soft that trees can topple over if the weight is not properly distributed. A tree that is sickly or low in vigor and shows significant signs of rotten or decayed areas in the trunk or termite damage should be cut down if it poses a threat to buildings. Also, look for branches that hang over the house near the roof. The high winds of hurricanes can cause trees to bend somewhat and branches to flail around considerably. These branches can cause extensive damage to the roof and should generally be removed. Tree care professionals including arborists, can examine trees for more subtle signs of weakness and take care of problems including pruning limbs that may be too big or too high for a homeowner to take down safely

 

Plant with Wildfire in Mind

Incorporating fire safe concepts into the residential landscape is one of the most important ways you can help your home survive a wildfire. When conditions are dry and windy, the grasses, brush, trees or other vegetation surrounding your home become a dangerous fuel source. Creating an area of dispensable space (or area of reduced fuel) between your home and flammable vegetation reduces the risk of home ignition. When the vegetation is removed, pruned, or otherwise modified, the chance that’s its ignition will pose a serious threat to your home during a wildfire seriously diminishes. Clear at least 30 feet around your home, 50 feet if you are in a heavily wooded area or 100 feet if you live on a hillside. Creating an area of defensible space does not mean you need a ring of bare dirt around your home. Through proper planning you can have both a beautiful landscape and a fire safe home.

 

Plant with Crime in Mind

While landscaping and plant growth can contribute to the aesthetics of a private residence, multi-resident unit or private business, they can also provide hiding places for persons with criminal intent. Burglars enter a home in the United States every five seconds. By choosing suitable plants and appropriate placement, you can have an attractive lawn and also reduce the potential for criminal activity. Make sure your home doesn’t look like a target for opportunity and take the following precautions;

1)      Ground cover plants
Ground cover plants, including perennial and annual plants, can be used within six feet of the edge of walkways and play areas. The height of these plants should not exceed two feet at maturity. Plants with thin stalks that are taller than two feet can be used if they still allow visual surveillance of the area.

2)      Shrubs
Shrubs should be used between six and twelve feet from the edge of walkways requiring visual surveillance. Their height should not exceed three feet at maturity. If they are taller, they should have thin stalks to allow for visual surveillance.

3)      Trees
Tree limbs should be pruned to six feet above ground. When planting, consider the location of light poles and fixtures so that illumination will not be blocked at night.

4)      Barrier plants
Barrier plants have thorns or needles and a dense structure. They should be used below and to the sides of windows and next to fences and walls where access is not needed or desired.

5)      Borders
Bark or wood chip borders between the lawn and the building or residence can be replaced with decorative river rock or gravel. A prowler walking on a rock surface will likely make more noise than he would walking on wood chips, possibly alerting the occupants.

 

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