Hurricane Season Trees

As hurricane season approaches, we need to look at our trees; some cause lots more problems than others.  Gardening expert—and tree expert—Bill Finch says water oaks and laurel oaks are two of the biggest troublemakers on the Gulf Coast and do more damage than any other types of trees.

Bill says water oaks spend 25 years growing and 25 years dying.  They have little resistance to disease, and they fall apart easily.  You’re lucky if the limbs fall off because in many cases these trees fall over from the base and can crush a house.  I’d have taken Bill to video my water oak, but it fell down a few years ago.

Don’t mistake a water oak for one of our beautiful live oaks.  Water oaks have kite-shaped leaves and a lighter, thinner bark.  Live oaks have oval leaves and a denser, darker bark.

Live oaks are hardy trees that are disease-resistant and wind-resistant, too.  But even live oaks can have problems when a limb gets too long.  Some very long limbs can act as levers, with the heavy weight eventually causing the limb to shear off from the trunk.  If one of these is hanging over your house, weight needs to be removed from the tips of the branches.

So how do you know where to cut?

Bill says you or I should NOT cut a live oak.  This is work for a certified arborist; they know exactly what to take off.

Pecan trees are brittle.  They have a poor shape that catches the wind and a shallow root system.  Don’t  plant them near your house, and if you already have one nearby, keep a wary eye on it.

Learn more by calling Bill’s radio show Sunday mornings from 9-11AM on 106.5FM, or email

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