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Buck Rollings

Tree Trimming 101

Treated right, trees can protect and enhance homes

They improve your home's appearance, enhance its value, shelter wildlife, and provide protection in a storm.

Trees. It's important to think about them, especially with the approach of hurricane season.

Here are steps that Hillsborough County residents and business owners can take now to ensure their canopy provides years of praise, comfort, refuge, and security:

Do needed work before storm season. When a tropical weather system is approaching the coast, it's too late. Also, it's advisable to take care of your canopy before it flourishes with new growth during the summer rainy season.

Right Tree, Right Place. Before planting a tree, make sure it is a sturdy, wind-resistant species. Consider how much space it will take when fully grown. Place a tree where it will thrive without posing a danger to structures or other vegetation.

Tour your yard. Look for dead or broken trees and limbs, cracks or signs of decay in trunks, and limbs growing at odd angles. Are the tops of your trees healthy and lush with new growth?

Inventory your trees. There are about 200 species of trees in Hillsborough County. What's on your property? Identify natives and exotics, particularly those that may be invasive or susceptible to damage in high winds. Keep in mind that a tree removal permit may be required for removal.

Prune, trim as needed. Don't overdo it. Randomly cutting back or "topping" a tree does more harm than good. Hire an arborist for the big stuff. Arborists have expertise, equipment, trained workers, and insurance to do a job correctly.

Plant young trees. You might have a splendid canopy of mature trees at the moment, but if they're all about the same age, eventually the canopy will be gone. Consider having a succession plan. Planting young trees ensures your canopy will continue to thrive.

Photo: Certified arborist Buck Rollings examines a stand of oak trees in Lutz.

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