When a hurricane is forecast, don't do any trimming. You will just create dangerous projectiles. Be sure to remove coconuts, seed pods and brown fronds from palms and pick any fruit. Cut back vines on fences so they don't pull the structure over in high winds. Mowing the grass will make clearing debris easier afterward.
Bring in potted plants and lawn chairs. If you lack space, lay plants on their side. You can stake small trees by driving rebar, wood or plastic stakes at least eight inches into the ground and attaching them to the tree with rope or soft plastic bands.
After the storm passes, time can be a great healer for your landscape. Trees that lost all their leaves usually are not dead.
If the landscape is subjected to salt spray, hose it down with fresh water as soon as possible.
Broken branches should be cut back cleanly to where there is clear wood. You can raise downed trees if they were newly planted or have a trunk diameter smaller than four inches. For larger trees, consult a tree service.
To replant, enlarge the hole, trim the roots, stand the tree back up and fill the hole with the original soil, tamping it down to remove air pockets. Stake the tree for a year and water it every other day for at least two weeks.
If you need new plants, consider "Florida Friendly" landscaping.
And once the storm passes, stay on the alert until hurricane season ends Nov. 30.
Florida thatch palm
For a list of certified arborists near you, go to www.isa-arbor.com, click on Find a Tree Care Service, then type in your ZIP Code.