Hurricane Resilient Trees

Building Hurricane Resilience into our Tree Canopy

Every major storm gives us an opportunity to assess where improvements must be made so that we fare better in the next one. One major impact the City of Hollywood saw from Hurricane Irma (2017) was a loss of tree canopy.

Creating tree canopy that will weather future storms is beneficial to our economies, quality of life, and environment. Fallen trees and branches result in power outages, physical hazards, and debris. Tree loss opens canopy and results in a loss of the benefit of that canopy including energy use reduction, property value benefits, neighborhood safety, stormwater management, air and water quality, and wildlife habitat.

The Urban Heat Island Effect is a concern in cities whose temperatures will rise in the future faster than the average global rate. Tree canopy is an effective and cost efficient way of mitigating the Urban Heat Island. When we lose tree canopy, we lose that mitigation benefit.

Planet, Economy, Society circle graphic

Resources for restoring or replacing tree canopy and landscaping:


The University of Florida (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) has great and comprehensive resources for recovering and restoring your trees after a hurricane.

Learn, among other things:

Restoring your trees:

  • How to straighten a young tree that fell during a storm
  • How to safely remove damaged branches
  • Trees that look dead or damaged after a storm may still recover. Learn how much time your trees will need to recover and how to prune and care for them while they do

Manage trees for future wind resistance:

  • How to prune your trees to prevent wind damage in future storms

Design new plantings for wind resistance:

  • Right tree, right place. 
    • Plant trees under powerlines with mature heights shorter than the lines
    • avoid utilities by calling 811 before you dig
  • How to design your planting to maximize wind resistance
    • trees planted together are more resistant than those alone
  • How to choose species that are naturally more wind resistant
    • Native trees perform better than non-native

What species to plant for hurricane resistance:

  • Suggestions based on performance in past storms. Stay tuned for lessons learned from Irma. 

Access all the UF/IFAS Trees and Hurricanes resources here.

Native Plants and Wildlife Habitat

Take advantage of the opportunity to restore your landscape to improve it! Plants native to coastal South Florida are adapted to high wind conditions and are better able to survive and recover after a hurricane than non-native plants. Using native plants reduces costs associated with watering and fertilizing. Native landscapes require less maintenance, saving you time! Native landscapes also provide environmental benefits by improving stormwater quality, reducing water pollution, and providing habitat for birds, butterflies, and other desirable wildlife. 

  • The Florida Native Plant Society Broward Chapter is an excellent resource  to learn about plants native to Broward County and where to find them. 
  • The Institute for Regional Conservation’s Natives for Your Neighborhood will provide you with a comprehensive data base of Florida native plants, searchable by zip code, including links to nurseries which carry them, butterflies that use them, and gardening tips. 
  • NatureScape Broward is your one stop shop for all things wildlife and Florida Friendly. 
  • The UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Landscaping Program will help you design your yard to maximize water conservation and utilize sustainable gardening practices. 
National Wildlife Federation Community Habitat Program logo

The City of Hollywood is a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Help us maintain our standing by certifying your yard today!

Certify here!

Your yard will need:

  1. Food (can be plants with fruits, butterfly nectar plants, feeders, etc.) 
  2. Water (bird bath, pond, rain garden, canal, pool, ocean, etc.)
  3. Cover (bushes and other dense vegetation)
  4. Place to raise young (mature trees, shrubs, butterfly host plants, nest boxes, etc.)
  5. Sustainable gardening practices