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Hurricane Arthur: Preparing your landscape in advance of a hurricane

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Tropical Storm Arthur is predicted to become a Category 1 hurricane in time for Fourth of July celebrations along North Carolina's Outer Banks by Friday. But thanks to a warm front coming from the West, the rest of the East Coast might escape Hurricane Arthur, but they will have to deal with the heavy rains and wind expected from the severe weather, according to the July 3 report from WBAL TV11's Insta-Weather Plus Meteorologist Ava Marie.

WBAL's meteorologist reported on Thursday that the warm front will "steer Arthur out to sea" before it ever reaches Ocean City, with Kitty Hawk possibly getting a direct hit by 2 a.m. on Friday.

With wind expected to be 70 miles-per-hour and gusts as much as 90 m.p.h., it is time to prepare your landscape on the East Coast for the damage the storm could do. And those in the Maryland and Delaware areas need to do those preparations right away.

Don't cancel your plans for the beaches here in Maryland, as things really improve in time for the weekend," WBAL's meteorologist said, but the storms today "could have some gusty winds, possibly enough to cause some isolated damage, and downpours will be an issue as well."

So how do you prepare your landscape for a hurricane? The staff at The Star have some great tips they shared less than a month ago, which include staking down any new trees or shrubs in your residential or commercial landscape. Any trees or shrubs planted within the last year qualifies as a "new" tree or shrub for purposes of hurricane preparation.

And since 20 percent of damage sustained to structures during a hurricane or tropical storm is caused by trees, you will want to take this advice seriously, especially if you know there is a possibility of a severe storm heading in your direction.

Consider this: a mere "10-foot long branch has the power to deliver one ton of force, which can puncture your roof deck or damaging the trusses," according to Roy Lee Carter, the Gulf County Florida County Extension Director.

So if Hurricane Arthur were to visit your property, you would want those trees and shrubs staked down properly, to sustain the least amount of damage as possible, as the cost of purchasing and caring for new trees and shrubs in the landscape is not cheap. But there are some trees that survive storms better, according to Carter, and that need less pruning and trimming in advance of a storm.

One example is the Crape Myrtle tree, like this Delta Jazz Crape Myrtle tree from Southern Living Plant Collection, which this Examiner has in her North Georgia trial garden. Typically ornamental plants and other landscape objects are more vulnerable during a hurricane. But there are native tree species that also offer stronger resistance to such storms, like the Crape Myrtle, the Bald Cypress and Dahnoon Holly, according to the Star.

So when it comes time to put trees and plants in your garden, be sure you choose those that have a better chance of weathering bad storms and high winds. And then you will do less work to do in order to prepare your landscape for the next Hurricane Arthur or tropical storm that threatens your property. Click here for more tips on how to secure your other property in the event of a severe storm, as well as obtain a list of safety procedures to follow.