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'Better safe than sorry': Homeowners trim, remove trees for Hurricane Season

Experts said homeowners must take every safety concern seriously and should not wait until a hurricane is on the horizon to do tree preparations

SARASOTA, Fla — This year's 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season has kicked off and Tampa Bay area tree trimming service providers said they are getting booked and busy already.

Part of preparing for a busy hurricane season includes making sure yards are a safe zone by getting large and weak trees trimmed or removed. That's why tree trimmers were out working on trees in neighborhoods in Sarasota, and homeowners specifically requested their service because of hurricane season.

The homeowners said they wanted to help minimize the risk to themselves and their neighbors when high winds from severe weather eventually arrive.  

"Probably the second or third year we were here, we had two queen palms to the right of my garage and one of my queen palms was pushed over. Luckily there was no car in the driveway," said Bob Heidger, a resident in Sarasota.

Heidger said he has experienced 25 years of living through a hurricane season in the Palmer Ranch area of Sarasota.

He said in all those years he has learned a few hard lessons which he would not like to repeat. 

"We have these Washingtonian trees that get very very tall and because of this hurricane season, I want to protect my neighbors. I want them trimmed," he said.

Heidger and some of his neighbors have called in tree trimming experts who urged that folks need to keep an eye on anything growing or looming close to their home.

"Keeping all of the big trees, the canopies raised up, thinned out a little bit, keeping all of the palm trees trimmed," said Josh McBride of Professional Tree Guy Services in Sarasota.

Across town in the Gulf Gate Estates area, another tree trimming team tackled a large pine tree with signs of decay.

The experts said the browned pine leaves visible on one side were a good indicator that it was time for some work.

"The first to go is usually as Slash pine or Norfolk. This is a Norfolk pine. This particular tree is dangerous you know because it's got a lot of weak spots in it," said Joseph Hatina of Experienced Tree Service, also of Sarasota.

Experts said homeowners must take every safety concern seriously and should not wait until a hurricane is on the horizon to do tree preparations. 

"I have had a lot of different problems where somebody thought a tree was safe and they didn't realize that inside the tree was actually a fungus," said Hatina.

"It's June 1, we're into it, better safe than sorry," added Heidger.

Local emergency management officials also advised that if homeowners have outdoor furniture or yard ornaments like gnomes and vases, it's best to take them inside or tether them down so they don't become projectiles during heavy winds.

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