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  • Writer's pictureDugald Scott

Top Tips to Prepare for Storms and Strong Winds

Before - The Calm Before the Storm

If you know that storms or high winds are expected you should make sure you secure your home and garden in advance. Blustery weather and high winds are one of the most common causes for property damage in the UK and once a storm hits it may be too late to protect your home. Remember you are liable for any damage caused to your neighbours’ property as a result of your own trees or equipment.

1) Secure your belongings

Scope out your garden and identify any objects or equipment that could become flying debris. Take down any hanging planters that could potentially crash into windows and take inside any small items such as potted plants. Ensure that you secure any garden tools and equipment as they can be extremely dangerous if picked up by winds and can also easily get damaged or do damage.

Think about any larger items such as chairs, tables, umbrellas etc., Ensure if you have any kids toys such as trampolines and play structures they are also secured! Think about the right equipment or techniques to keep these items secure such as ropes, chains, weights or stakes. Lock your garden shed up tight!

2) Check and maintain large trees

Storm debris and falling trees can result in severe structural damage to your home and can even cause fatalities. It is vital to regularly maintain trees in your garden, trimming them and removing weak branches that could fall and cause damage during a storm. Good pruning will reduce the bulk of a tree, let in more light and allow wind to pass through. This will reduce wind resistance to make your tree safer.

3) Inspect your fencing

Well constructed fencing can offer a great barrier to protect your home and garden from rain or high winds. It is advisable to check your fencing is secure and that posts are firmly set in the ground. On occasion, wooden fences can be subject to rot or attack by insects so it is good to treat them regularly with wood stain. If you are in a high wind area it is advisable to design your fencing with gaps to allow the wind to flow through reducing the chance that the wind force blowing it down.

4) Protect your plants

Strong winds can cause serious damage to plants. Windy weather can dry out leaves and in severe cases plants can be uprooted. However, there are a few easy things you can do to preventing wind damage including:

  • Think about your garden design as hedges and trees can be planted to protect other plants and shrubs from high winds

  • Erect a windbreak using mesh or netting to filter the wind and reduce its strength.

  • Support plants by using canes but be careful not to tie them too tightly as this can also cause damage or breakage as they still need room to move / breath.

  • Keep plants, especially potted plants well watered during the winter months, especially in high winds.

  • Prune your plants to ensure that there are no branches that cross or rub against each other as this can cause damage inviting pests or disease.

  • If you're concerned about extreme weather damaging your garden, it's worth investing in some sturdy plant protection such as growhouses or cold frames.

After – Addressing the Aftermath

It is important to do a thorough check of your house and garden after a wind storm has been through your area, to address any debris left in its wake.

5) Re-check fences and trees

Look for signs of damage to your fences and trees such as split branches or hanging limbs and check around the base of the tree looking at the root system for loose or mounded soil which might be a sign that roots may be lifting and liable to topple. If any trees on your property fall and cause damage or injury you will be held liable so err on the side of caution and ask a specialist come and check any trees you are unsure of.

6) Garden Tidy Up

You will need to assess the clean-up operation of any debris such as branches and leaves. If there are only small branches lying strewn on the ground then it’s likely there is very little to no permanent damage to your trees.

If there is any large debris such as fallen limbs or trees that are lying on the ground then it’s advisable to tackle these first. Split larger limbs that have fallen so that they are easier to dispose of.

Then focus on the smaller stuff removing any debris that might have blown around shrubs. If they were damaged, you will need to do some pruning. Don’t worry plants are fairly resilient. Clean-up broken twigs / branches and then use a rake or leaf blower to clear the rest.

7) Approaching damaged trees

For any larger items, take care as fallen storm damaged trees can often be under stress, hung, bent or pushing against other trees and if cut incorrectly can be extremely dangerous. Call in the tree expert for any of the more tricky jobs, such as trees that are leaning, bent or still have their root balls attached. BEWARE, do not go near any fallen trees as they can be volatile and may snap at any moment due to the pressure they are under.

At Fidra Home and Garden we are qualified and insured to reinstate your damaged fencing or handle tree pruning and removal so give us a call on 07801 945 399 if you are unsure about any trees on your property.

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