Severe Weather Guide: Prepare Your Yard

It is important to prepare your yard in the case of severe weather to avoid high repair costs and irreversible damage. With this guide, learn what steps to take in the case of a storm.

tree pruning Family Handyman

Your yard takes a beating when severe weather roars through. Take these steps to prepare:

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  • Prune trees to remove dead branches that could snap and cause personal injury or property damage. Remove any branches that overhang or touch the house. Pruning reduces wind resistance in trees, which makes them less likely to be blown down. For tree pruning tips click here.
  • Prune trees using the correct three-step technique (shown below).
  • Remove dead trees.
  • Establish a natural windbreak of hardy, tall trees around your property. Be sure to keep the trees trimmed and remove any dead limbs.
  • Keep poles, shovels, bicycles and anything else that could become a hazardous flying object stored away.
  • Use soft mulch materials, like shredded bark, which does less damage in a storm than loose stones or gravel.
  • If any of your trees are near power lines, hire a professional tree trimmer or have the utility company do the work.

3 Steps for Proper Pruning

tree pruning

  1. Make an upward cut partway through the branch 12 inches from the trunk.
  2. Make a downward cut all the way through the branch 1 inch past the first cut.
  3. Remove the remaining nub near the trunk with a final downward cut.

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pruning saw loopers

Using the right tools makes pruning less time consuming, safer and easier on the trees. For branches up to 1/2 inch thick, use pruning shears. If you have to twist and strain to cut through the branch, you should be using loppers. Loppers can cut branches up to 2 inches thick. If you have larger branches to remove, use a pruning saw. Never use a conventional shop saw. For high branches, buy or rent a pole pruner.

Information for this post was made in collaboration with Lowes for a severe weather guide.