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Storm protection

Lessen damage by gales

Rosemary snapped by gales, January 2015

We’re all supposed to plan ahead to lessen storm damage but in reality, there’s usually a couple of days’ notice at best to make your garden and property safe.

If torrential rain is forecast with the likelihood of flooding, please see my Flooding and Waterlogging page.

If a storm or gale-force winds are forecast, here are the 10 most important things to do to lessen the destruction:

1. Trees: They cause much of the damage to homes, by breaking apart or uprooting in severe winds. Inspect any mature trees on or near your property for structural weaknesses, or dead wood.

2. Outdoor furniture: Bring inside any loose, lightweight objects. Either bring your patio furniture and barbecue into the garage or indoors, or tie them securely to (sturdy) trees in the garden. Turn tables upside down so the wind can’t catch the surface.

3. Hammocks: Bring them inside – they catch the wind like a sail and can cause major damage when still attached to a metal frame.

4. Border plants: Smaller plants in pots can be brought inside but shrubs in beds and borders will just have to weather the storm. You just have to accept that they’re probably going to suffer damage, so be prepared to prune and stake once the weather clears.

Jasmine trellis snapped, January 2015

5. Annuals: Bad weather may spell the end for crops such as runner beans, and tall flowers like sunflowers and Cosmos.

6. Large potted plants:  Lie them on their sides with the tops of the plants pointing away from the expected direction of the strongest winds.

7. Ceramic pots: Protect expensive, fragile pots by wrapping them in bubble wrap. Use bricks or wooden blocks to wedge the pots so they don’t roll.

8. Fruit trees: Pick apples and pears, which are likely to be blown from their trees.

9. Any weight on trees: As well as fruit, remove hanging ornaments, bird tables and swings from trees, to prevent branches from splitting.

10. Garden ornaments/structures: Make sure obelisks, arches and frames are secure BEFORE the winds hit.