Aug 29, 2017 7:03:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV

The Florida Keys are a sought-after destination for tourists and property owners who own vacation homes in South Florida and appreciate the area’s stunningly beautiful environment. The beaches, the oceanfront homes, the luxury living and tropical climate make The Keys a true paradise. But nature isn’t perfect—hurricanes are a reality here, and you want to protect your pool and landscape from damage.

With hurricane-force winds, coconuts from your amazing palm tree become missiles and flying patio furniture can break through windows. Pools without proper overflows installed can flood.

The good news: You can prevent further property damage and protect your landscape and your pool during hurricane season by taking some precautions.

Keep An Eye On The Weather

Some property owners with second homes in The Florida Keys are not living in South Florida during the peak hurricane season. Nevertheless, it’s critical to keep an eye on the weather so you can prepare before a hurricane warning is issued. The Florida Keys are located just north of the Caribbean, making the islands particularly susceptible to sever storms and hurricanes, especially during the six-month window of June 1 to November 30. Based on the Florida Keys hurricane information guide, the most hurricane activity happens in the latter part of that time-frame, from August 15 through October 1. Tune into the weather during this time-frame so you can take the following safety precautions to protect your pool and landscape.

How to protect your pool

Protecting Your Pool During Hurricane Season

First, let’s bust a myth or two about protecting your pool during hurricane season. Do not empty it! Your pool is designed to properly drain and should include overflows that prevent excess water from flooding the pool. You can empty the water level slightly—by one to two feet. But draining more water than this can cause hydrostatic pressure under the pool. The strong winds will cause ground pressure to build up and can “pop” the pool structure out of the ground, causing cracking and other pool infrastructure damage. Our advice: Go ahead and drain a foot of water from the pool, but please do not empty the pool completely. And, if your pool does not have overflows, get them installed immediately.

Additional pool protection measures include:

  • Turn Off Pool Equipment: Cut the power to the pool pump, motor, lighting, chlorinators and other equipment by turning off the circuit breaker. We suggest removing the pool motor and moving it indoors where it will not be damaged by flood water. If removing the motor is not possible—and we understand this is often the case—the best way to protect pool equipment is to wrap the motor and other key components with waterproof plastic and secure tightly. (Hurricane winds and rains deposit sand and salty water, which can cause damage to pool equipment.)
  • Remove Loose Pool Parts: We’re talking about filter tops and other loose parts that could blow off in hurricane-force winds. By removing these and taking them indoors, you’ll save from replacing them after the storm.
  • Leave the Chlorine Level Alone: There’s no need to add chlorine before the storm. A better strategy is to get your pool serviced within the week following the storm so chemicals can be properly balanced.
  • Secure Pool Furniture: If possible, move poolside furniture to a protected storage space so that it will not blow away and damage your home and property, or blow into the pool—which can result in rotting and rusting furniture. Anything that you can physically move (tables, chairs, umbrellas, loungers) the wind can pick up and toss around during hurricane conditions.

Preventing Landscape Damage During Hurricane Season

high tree careHigh tree trimming prior to hurricane season along with debris removal can go a long way toward protecting your landscape during high winds from hurricanes and severe storms. And these weather conditions are part of living in The Keys—it’s not a matter of if a hurricane will strike, but when. If we can deliver our best advice in three words, we’d say: Always be prepared!

What does that mean for the landscape? Here are a few important pointers that could help save your property from severe damage.

  • Focus on High Tree Trimming: On an annual basis (before hurricane season), all high trees on your South Florida property should be assessed and pruned to encourage plant health and prevent damage in strong winds. That can include pruning palm trees, removing coconuts and addressing limbs that are dying, diseased or dead. Trees that are mostly likely to get damaged include: Australian pine tree, Mahogany, Ficus, Laurel Oak, Queen Palm and Tabubuia.
  • Prune Shrubs: Summer heavy pruning will prevent limbs from being torn off by winds. Heavy pruning rejuvenates plants, encourages new growth and is better than continual light pruning (in most cases). May to August is the best time to do heavy pruning in Florida; and we recommend doing so before peak hurricane season arrives in mid-August through September.
  • Get an Irrigation Check: Before heavy storm season in South Florida, you want to be sure irrigation rain sensors and other components are working. Get an irrigation check before hurricane season rather than finding out the hard way that your system isn’t operating like it’s supposed to.

How to protect your landscape

Hurricane Preparedness Includes Protecting Your South Florida Property

You may be instructed to evacuate your property during hurricane conditions—it all depends on the severity and location of the storm. The National Hurricane Center will provide this guidance. Reef Tropical is a resource you can count on before the storm—and after, because our teams are well-versed in the necessary pool and spa maintenance required to bring your pool back into balance, and our landscape maintenance crews provide specialty post-hurricane cleanup.

Let’s plan a hurricane protection strategy for your property. Call our knowledgeable team any time at 305-367-2005, or fill out this simple contact form to request a quote.

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Topics: Pool & Spa Maintenance, Landscape Maintenance, Tree and Shrub Care

Claude Kershner IV

Written by Claude Kershner IV

President Reef Tropical • Pool & Landscape

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