Hurricane Impact on Trees

Hurricanes are destructive and dangerous for many things, including your trees. They come with high winds, heavy rains, and flooding, which can all have a devastating effect on trees. While a few broken branches may seem minor, these damages can have long-term effects that may not be noticeable immediately.

In this article, we’ll discuss hurricane impact on trees and what we can do to help them.

Immediate Impact of Hurricane on Trees

Broken Branches and Trunks

Hurricane Impact on TreesThe winds from a hurricane can reach speeds of up to 156 mph and above. At such levels, even the strong trees will not bear the pull and push of the wind, leading to ripped-off branches or even uprooting. Some smaller and weak trees will snap and fall.

Even if the tree doesn’t fall immediately, it often becomes weak and poses a safety hazard to the people, power lines, and property. In whatever case, consult an experienced arborist to help trim the weak and broken branches. He can also advise you on the best way to remove the uprooted tree.

Long-term Impact of Hurricane on Trees

Poor Root System

Some effects of hurricanes on the trees become noticeable months or years later. For example, the pooling & pushing and flooding may not break the tree but undermine its roots. You may never notice immediately, but the tree slowly shows signs of decline due to poor root systems.

It may show stunted growth, decreased leaves and foliage, and sometimes yellow or brownish leaves. Eventually, it will die after a few months or years. Some may tilt and lean dangerously toward your property, driveways, roads, and powerlines.

Poor Soil

Flooding in coastal communities such as in Florida will cause saltwater to flow to the freshwater areas. High levels of salt in the soil will displace healthy nutrients that trees need and cause the trees to die. Leaves that have salt saturation will lose the green coloration and appear brown.

High salt content also causes the breakdown of the soil aggregates. In the long term, it affects the ability of water uptake and interferes with the aeration process of the soil. The salt also pulls moisture from the tree’s roots, leading to root desiccation.

Premature Defoliation

Hurricanes cause flooding that sometimes lasts for weeks. Floods will interfere with the growth of trees and lead to premature defoliation. (1)

Most trees can tolerate 1-2 days of flooding, but if the period exceeds, it’s no longer healthy for them. Several days of flooding will cut off oxygen in the soil, leading to root suffocation. Consequently, it will weaken the roots, and the trees will not be able to take in the needed nutrients.

The trees will shed their leaves prematurely with minimal or no oxygen in the soil. The loss will not cause the death of trees immediately.

However, it interferes with their ability to produce new leaves. This defoliation leaves the trees weak and cannot tolerate harsh weather conditions, and they eventually die.

Growth of Bacteria

Heavy rainfall encourages fungal and bacterial growth. With broken branches, the tree is vulnerable to diseases caused by such organisms.

The symptoms of these diseases are decay on the leaves, wilting of trees, and stunting stems. If the hurricane continues for a long time, it will result in tree death. To ensure your trees are healthy, adopt tree care practices.


Hurricanes will not only damage houses and infrastructure, but they also inflict a lot of damage on trees. After such heavy winds and floods, consider pruning the damaged branches and repairing the tree’s bark.

At Aardvark Tree Service, we have experienced arborists that can help you inspect and evaluate the trees for extensive damage. We will advise you on the best way to restore or remove trees.

Contact us today for all storm clean-up services. We are here to ensure your trees remain healthy even after a hurricane. We proudly serve Daytona Beach, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, Ponce Inlet, and Daytona Beach Shores with our industry-leading quality and service.

Click to see all our services.