To be ready for the next Ida, you don’t have to depend on the vagaries of hurricane season. You may reduce damage and feel at ease by taking preventative measures to safeguard your Baton Rouge home from a storm.
When a storm is approaching, there is more to do than stock up on groceries and sandbags. Your Louisiana home will be more resistant to wind and flood damage if you use these 9 hurricane-proof landscaping ideas. In this manner, you may assist your neighbor and reduce the cleaning after a storm.
Plant wind-resistant trees aside from water; a falling tree is the most severe hazard to your and your property’s safety. A wind speed of 150 mph (as experienced during Hurricane Ida in 2021) may rip a tree out of the ground like a weed.
Does this imply that you must remove all the trees in your yard? No. Trees are crucial to a healthy environment for a variety of reasons, including providing shade, functioning as nesting places, and lowering stormwater runoff. Knowing which trees to plant and how to grow them will help lessen the danger of their failure in a storm.
What makes a tree species resistant to wind? Look for the following characteristics:
- Deep, radical roots
- Low center of gravity
- Small, deciduous leaves with a fine texture
What makes a tree species resistant to wind? Look for the following characteristics:
- Bald cypress
- Live oak
- Sabal palm
- Windmill palm
- Iron wood
- Shumard oak
- Winged elm
Avoid these trees:
- Red cedars
- Ornamental pears
- Silver maples
- Box elders
- Water oaks
Cost: Depending on the size, trees might cost as little as $20 or as much as $3,000. If you’re on a tight budget, stick to smaller trees or saplings.
Plant / Tree Placement
You’ve chosen your wind-resistant trees; now you must determine where to put them. The first step is to rule out regions near your home or electricity lines. If you must plant a tree near a power line, choose a small tree such as a dogwood, crepe myrtle, or wax myrtle.
Ensure your planting area has at least 3 feet of soil depth (careful if you’re planting near a sidewalk) and a deep water table. Follow these steps before producing a large tree.
Establish the distance to the water table:
- Make a couple of 2-3 foot deep holes.
- Water may not materialize for up to 4 hours. If there is no water, you may plant a huge tree.
- If water emerges, measure the distance between the water’s surface and the soil’s surface. Choose a tiny tree if it is less than 18 inches tall. Choose a little or medium-sized tree if it is taller than 18 inches.
Soil compaction also impacts a tree’s capacity to survive harsh weather. Once a year, aerate your grass to help the soil break up.
And provide a better habitat for new growth.
Our last piece of tree planting advice is to combine them to provide wind protection. According to research by the University of Florida, merely planting trees in groups may enhance their odds of surviving a hurricane by 10%.
Cost: Choosing a location for a new tree is completely free. Replanting an existing tree ranges from $150 to $880 per tree.
Choose Salt-Tolerant Plants
Have you ever heard of automobiles decaying miles from shore after a hurricane? The salt spray may corrode metal up to 10 miles inland in typical weather, and a hurricane stretches that radius much more. Plants are much more delicate than metal buildings, and those in your Baton Rouge garden are vulnerable to salt damage after a tropical storm.
Salt dehydrates plants, hinders roots from receiving water, and limits efficient nutritional absorption. In short, it might be the end of your cherished garden bed.
Consider putting salt-tolerant plants that can withstand strong shaking while refreshing your garden.
Louisiana salt-tolerant plants
These plants are native and salt-tolerant. Because they have evolved to coastal conditions, native plants are very robust.
- Wax myrtle
- Southern bayberry
- Gulf bluestem
- Coastal dropseed
- Salt meadow cordgrass
- St. Augustinegrass
- Trumpet creeper
- Virginia creeper
- Coral honeysuckle
- Camphor daisy
- Seaside goldenrod
- Beach morning glory
- Blazing star
- Swamp rose
- Rose mallow
Cost: Professional flower bed installation is between $500 and $2,500.
Keep Plants Pruned & Trimmed
The first step is to choose plants, but caring for them is as crucial. When did you cut your hedges using a pair of shears? Weak branches are ideal targets for high winds, and the last thing you want is a wayward branch smashing your vehicle glass.
Healthy plants, in general, are far more likely to withstand a storm, and careful trimming will keep them in excellent form. Clear away debris after you’re finished to preserve ventilation and avoid sickness.
When it comes to plant maintenance, keep in mind that storm avoidance is a year-round endeavor. Regularly inspect for indicators of illness or poor health, such as discoloration, dead foliage, and insects. Trees, in particular, should be monitored since concealed damage might result in a weaker tree.
Cost: You can maintain your shrubs and trees for free with proper pruning and trimming equipment. Professional trimming services range in price from $6-15 per shrub to $300-$700 per colossal tree.
Assess Plant Drainage
You must be concerned about more than simply heavy winds with a storm. Constant severe rains may wreak havoc on your house and yard. It is critical to assess your drainage systems to minimize rainwater damage.
You want to ensure that water may readily flow toward the closest storm drain. This includes keeping plants, fences, and hardscaping — such as gazebos or fire pits — out of the way.
- If your yard has poor grading, you should take extra measures: A rain garden is a collection of plants planted on a low slope to absorb rainfall and filter it for free.
- French drains are gravel-filled ditches that transport water to the point of escape.
- A dry well is a bottomless pit filled with rocks that is the finishing point for downspouts or French drains.
Finally, keep your gutters and downspouts in good condition. They have a crucial duty – preventing water damage to your roof, foundation, and siding after heavy rain — but they can’t accomplish that if they’re blocked with debris. They should be cleaned at least twice a year, ideally in the autumn and spring.
Cost: Professional French drain installation ranges from $1,000 to $4,500, depending on size and proximity to the surface. Gutter cleaning costs between $118 and $224, with additional charges if your house has numerous stories.
When considering hurricane-resistant landscaping, start with limiting possible wind damage. A slatted or chain-link fence with gaps allows wind to move through without producing resistance.
A solid fence, on the other hand, does not allow wind to pass through, resulting in a high force of contact and the possibility of damage. If you want to retain your strong fence, use brackets to strengthen the posts on the fence panels. You may also remove a single wall panel on each end to allow pockets of wind to pass through.
Materials are also necessary. Metal fences last much longer than wood fences. Steel and wrought iron can withstand battering, but wood rapidly collapses under the weight of a large limb or tree. Vinyl is another salt-resistant, waterproof fence option, although it is less durable than metal.
Pro Tip: Consider employing someone specializing in hurricane-resistant fencing if erecting a new fence. They will provide the most excellent solution without sacrificing safety, privacy, or aesthetics.
Cost: A homeowner in Baton Rouge should expect to pay between $7 and $50 per linear foot for the fence. Chain-link (cyclone fencing) ranges from $5 to $35 per linear foot.
Use Soft Mulch
Mulch keeps plants healthy, but the incorrect sort might harm them during a storm. Replace any hard mulches, such as river rock, pea gravel, and landscape glass. Hurricane-force winds will propel them toward objects like your vehicle, windows, and siding.
Soft mulches such as wood chips, shredded leaves, pine needles, rubber nuggets, and bark should be used instead. They could still inflict a few scratches, but the damage will be modest.
Cost: You may buy shredded bark mulch for $3 per 2 cubic feet or utilize free items you already have (such as newspaper and grass clippings).
Add a Retaining Wall
A retaining wall is a small wall that retains the soil in place behind it. It may prevent water from reaching your home’s foundation if it floods during a storm. Often composed of stone or concrete, retaining walls may be submerged for extended periods without harm.
They not only restrict the flow of water but also assist in avoiding erosion on your landscape all year. If your yard slopes, construct a retaining wall to level it off gradient and slow down water, allowing it to sink into the ground instead of rushing over the surface and bringing particles.
Cost: Depending on the material, retaining walls cost between $20 and $50 per square foot.
Remove or Secure Storm Hazards
In a cyclone, seemingly innocuous decorations may turn into weapons. Many of your landscape’s final touches must be put someplace secure before a hurricane hits. If a storm is on the horizon, dining tableware, garden furniture, toys, and bicycles should be transferred to a safe spot.
Turn any structure you can’t carry inside, but it is still mobile, such as a trellis or playground equipment, on its side. To limit the likelihood of their rolling away, group them. Other constructions like sheds should be secured to the ground using eyebolts and concrete foundations.
Cost: You may do it for free or hire a professional for $150-400.
Why is Hurricane Safety Important?
Nothing comes free, and the cost of Baton Rouge’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant community is the ever-present danger of storms. From Hurricane Katrina’s epic devastation to Hurricane Ida’s a close call with Baton Rouge in 2021, we’re no strangers to power disruptions and storm season turmoil.
Last year, local restaurants, motels, and farms pitched in to help individuals displaced by Hurricane Ida. Please don’t wait until it’s too late; take precautions to safeguard your landscape so you can rest easy when it rains.
Hire a Baton Rouge Lawn & Landscape Professional
Hurricane safety is no laughing matter. You could feel better knowing it’s in the hands of an expert. Hire a ZDR Baton Rouge Landscape Pros staff to handle installation requirements, yard cleaning, and regular maintenance to maintain your yard pristine.