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Hurricanes or strong winds occasionally damage apple trees in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. Following the wind event, trees may be leaning or may be lying flat on the ground with extension root damage. Commercial growers generally pull trees upright while the ground is still moist and support the tree or just the trunk with various types of posts providing support to a height of about 60 to 200 cm above ground. In some cases the trees are pulled partially upright and propped up with boards or sand bags may be placed on the upwind side of the tree. Research data are not available for comparing various methods of treating the trees following wind damage, but field observations indicate that trees perform well if trees are pulled upright within 2 or 3 weeks after the wind event. Data from rootstock research plantings from several states indicate that tree anchorage is influenced by the combination of scion cultivar and root-stock. In Virginia in 1989, Hurricane Hugo brought wind gusts of about 95 km·h–1 when the ground was completely saturated by heavy rains. Trees in several plantings designed to evaluate rootstocks or cultivars were evaluated for the extent of leaning following the storm. The percentage of leaning trees on M.26 EMLA was <10% for `McIntosh' and `Golden Delicious' and 40% for `Delicious'. Susceptibility of trees on M.7A was also influenced by scion cultivar, with 0% for `Golden Delicious' and `Empire', 2% for `Redchief Delicious', and 88% for `TripleRed Delicious'.

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Vegetable producers in south Florida suffered the effects of four major hurricanes during 2004 and two during 2005, causing damage to crops and farms estimated at well over 1 billion dollars each year. Producers were quick to respond by replanting or nursing damaged crops back to health. Green beans and leafy crops appeared least likely to recover or produce acceptable yields after exposure to high winds and driving rains. Young tomato plants up to the second or third string were at times completely stripped of leaf material, yet recovered surprisingly quickly. A replant study showed no benefit in replanting compared to keeping damaged plants in the field. Older tomato plants were marginal in their ability to recover with 10% to 60% reductions in yield for first and second harvests when compared to yields common in the region. As much as 100% of Palm Beach County's 2005 early fall bell pepper planting was destroyed by storms. Other peppers in the region were affected by flooding and subsequent development of root diseases such as phytophthora. Damaged eggplant recovered slowly. Research plantings located in commercial fields and at Research and Education Centers were devastated. In addition to loss of crops, costs to vegetable growers included labor to remove damaged plastic and reset stakes, installation of replacement plastic mulches, replanting, and structural damage to buildings and packing facilities. Some transplant houses and greenhouses for specialty peppers were completely destroyed. Removing plastic coverings before a storm's arrival saved structures and crops. Transplants of all crops were in short supply. Labor was lacking due to reconstruction efforts in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Successful and not-so-successful recovery efforts will be shown.

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Hurricanes strike the Gulf Coast of the United States every few years. We briefly describe generalized hurricane tracks for the Gulf Coast and vegetation damage using NDVI satellite imagery as well as slides of damaged urban trees in Florida. The impact of recent hurricanes on both pecan defoliation and production and on initial damage and subsequent recovery of various ornamental trees is described. Pecan harvests were greatly reduced by hurricanes that struck late in the season in both Alabama and Texas. Varieties of pecans varied in their susceptibility to various stresses. Pine forests were sometimes devastated by certain hurricanes while live oaks, various shrubs, and important insects often survived the same storms with little damage. Many exotic ornamental plants including Chinese tallow are either adventive or invasive along the Gulf Coast. Species escape from cultivation over a long period of time and exhibit different invasion lag phases. In Texas and Louisiana, hurricane damage to native trees allowed Chinese tallow seedlings and saplings to subsequently dominate some areas as a result of the disturbance. One delayed ecological response to hurricanes and typhoons is an acceleration of ongoing exotic plant invasions.

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Many citrus groves in Florida were affected by hurricanes in Summer 2004. A commercial 42-acre `Valencia' sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) grove of 2980 trees was routinely scanned with an automated ultrasonic system to measure and map tree canopy volumes. We estimated tree damage by comparing canopy volumes measured before and after the hurricanes of 2004. Ultrasonically sensed tree canopy volume was mapped and the relative tree canopy volume loss percentage (TCVL%) for each tree was calculated and classified into six categories [≤0 (no damage), 1% to 24%, 25% to 49%, 50% to 74%, 75% to 99%, and 100%]. Authenticity of the ultrasonically sensed missing trees was established by ground truthing or matching visually observed and georeferenced missing tree locations with ultrasonically sensed missing trees in the grove. Ninety-one trees were found missing during ground inspections after hurricanes and they exactly matched with ultrasonically sensed missing tree locations throughout the grove. All of the missing trees were in TCVL% categories 5 and 6 (≥75% damage). Some canopy volume was still detected with ultrasonics at the missing tree locations because of the presence of tall grass, weeds, or branches of large adjacent trees. More than 50% of trees in the grove were damaged (completely or partially) and generally larger trees (>100 m3) were damaged more by the hurricanes than small or medium size trees in each tree canopy volume loss category. The automated ultrasonic system could be used to rapidly identify missing trees (completely damaged) and to estimate partial tree canopy volume loss after hurricanes.

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Southern Florida has experienced numerous hurricanes, of which Hurricane Andrew was the most recent. Six years after this storm, nearly one-third of the 8093 ha of tropical fruit that existed in Miami–Dade County before the storm has never been replanted. The damage, reaction, and recovery from the storm varied among fruit species. The effect of heat stress and high light intensity was minimal on avocado, `Tahiti' lime, carambola, mamey sapote, guava, sapodilla, and longan. In contrast, mango trees experienced severe heat stress. Root damage caused by toppling and subsequent re-setting of sugar apple, atemoya, mango, and grafted `Tahiti' lime trees was severe; thus, trees not re-set were less likely to recover than trees left toppled or leaning. The extent and rate of recovery from hurricane-related wind stress also varied among species. Avocado, carambola, guava, and longan refoliated within 3 to 4 weeks after Hurricane Andrew. In contrast, mango, sugar apple, and atemoya trees went through two or more cycles of refoliating and dying back until tree death occurred. Iron and nitrogen deficiencies were common for mango, sugar apple, atemoya, and guava. Other consequences of hurricanes in south Florida include increased weed and vine growth and increased susceptibility to drought stress and insect infestations. Recovery to prehurricane crop production levels has varied among crops. For example, avocado and carambola production is near and exceeds pre-1992 levels, respectively. In contrast, `Tahiti' lime and mango production are about 20% pre-1992 levels. The long-term effect of the most recent hurricane on fruit production in south Florida has been a change in the crop species and/or cultivars planted.

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Two studies were established in upland native forest of northwestern Kauai before Hurricane Iniki (Sept. 1992). One study was a gradient study in Acacia koa forest in the leeward rain shadow and the second study was a replicated fertilization experiment in mesic Metrosideros polymorpha forest. Both studies escaped devastation by high-intensity microbursts. Removal of LAI (from 3% to 80%) was proportional to pre-hurricane LAI, suggesting that resistance to damage was higher in low LAI, low-productivity sites. LAI recovered to prehurricane levels within 2 years, except in plots with major limb and stem loss. In the Acacia forest, damage to overstory trees was less than to understory trees, whereas in Metrosideros forest, larger trees were more damaged than smaller trees. During 2 years of recovery, both forests lost LAI in winter storms nearly equivalent to the hurricane damage. Disturbance is more frequent than previously known, which suggests that chronic disturbance needs to be better understood as a force regulating ecosystem structure and function. In both studies, the relative rate of recovery was faster in the more productive but more disturbed plots, suggesting that ecosystem resistance and resilience were traded off. These results have application to land use planning, agroforestry systems management, and other perennial crop management decisions following damage by a tropical cyclone.

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In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed over 1000 mature trees in the City of North Miami, located 50 mi north of the storm center. The cleanup cost over $1,000.000. Most of the tree failures were caused by structural faults: co-dominant leaders, narrow limb attachment, included bark, over-lifting, hatracking, poor vertical limb placement, crown imbalance, overly-dense crowns, crossing and in-growing branches. All could have been corrected with proper pruning. Action was taken to reduce future damage. The city arborist made a complete, computerized inventory of all trees on public property, creating a data-base with all structural problems identified. These were prioritized so the worst could be addressed first. After any pruning work was done on a city tree, a follow-up evaluation was made, and any additional pruning needed was scheduled. Pruning followed the recommendations of state specialists and three county extension agents with the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. City workers were taught using lectures, demonstrations, site visits, CES publications, and individualized instruction. In addition, all new trees purchased were grades FL Fancy or FL no. 1, based on Grades and Standards for Nursery Plants; such trees require little or no corrective pruning at planting and mature as structurally-sound trees which resist wind damage. Two later storms (1993, 1999) produced winds in North Miami similar to those of Hurricane Andrew. Together they destroyed only 35 trees which cost $35,000 to remove. These data demonstrate that following CES pruning recommendations reduces storm damage to trees, saving money and preserving the urban forest canopy.

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The Atlantic hurricane season stretches from June to November, and the vegetable growing season in South Florida begins in August. This means that pre-plant, planting, and early harvesting operations are performed during hurricane season. Three major hurricanes striking our area during two consecutive growing seasons have helped to teach us how to give vegetable crops the best chance of survival. On a 4-ha farm growing diversified vegetable crops, there have been clear differences in crop survival. Tiny seedlings of most crops were generally killed by driving rains and strong winds. However, 7- to 10-cm-tall transplants in plastic cell trays survived surprisingly well when placed on the ground in an area that did not flood and was protected from flying debris. During the hurricane with the highest winds, large plants, such as tomatoes and squash, were defoliated. Even plants that survived defoliation and regrew were injured, so they were vulnerable to diseases later in the season. It actually appears to be best not to stake crops in extremely high winds. Staked and tied tomatoes often broke off at the top string. In winds of over 90 knots, unstaked eggplants fared best of any mature crops. They fell over immediately and, lying on the ground, were protected from the high winds. After the storm passed, they were pulled upright, staked and tied, and produced excellent yields. Sweet corn also fell over, but, over a period of a week, gradually returned to about a 45° angle where it produced about 30% of the normal yield. Of course, each hurricane has different characteristics; what works in one may not be the best during others. We are, however, hoping not to have a chance to learn more about how crops survive hurricanes.

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The University of Florida Miami-Dade County Extension, as a member of the USDA's County Emergency Board, is required to assess damage to commercial horticultural crops (tropical fruit, ornamentals, and vegetables) immediately following natural disasters. While trying to determine dollar values following a freeze in Jan. 1997, Extension and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) developed a spreadsheet that lists all the major crops by commodity along with average yield per acre and price based on how the crop is sold. Acreage is another component, as is the percentage of each crop that was “lost” during the disaster in question. These components are multiplied to give a dollar value of the loss for each individual crops and are totaled to give losses for the major commodities in Miami-Dade. While acreage is relatively stable for ornamental and tree fruit crops, it fluctuates considerably for vegetables, depending on the time of year. Within roughly 24 h of a disaster, the committee assesses actual damage to different crops by conducting a windshield survey of the local growing area. This allows staff to calculate the percentage of damage experienced by each sector and current acreage. Then, acreage and crop loss figures are plugged into the equation and dollar values are generated. Crop loss can also be translated into lost jobs, which can assist migrant service providers with funding requests. This presentation will review the different types of damage experienced during hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005 and their effects on the local economy. Katrina caused extensive flooding, with some structural damage, while damage from Wilma was primarily due to high winds and micro-bursts.

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There are 1,240 certified nurseries producing ornamentals in 14,000 acres in Miami-Dade Co., Fla. About half the acreage is tropical foliage plants produced under shade. A small percentage, mainly bedding plants and specialty crops, is in structures which are enclosed and heated during the winter. Total annual sales are near $1 billion. Official damage estimates are made by local, state, and federal agencies within 24 hours. after an event. According to these estimates, Hurricane Katrina resulted in crop losses of $370,650,000 in August. With 6 weeks, Hurricanes Rita and Wilma caused additional crop losses of $195,475,000. Katrina caused extensive flooding, with many woody plants under water for several days. Most of the damage to tropical foliage was from exposure to the sun after shade structures were torn apart. Katrina destroyed 60% of the covered acreage, and Wilma destroyed another 20%. With assistance of the Miami–Dade chapter of the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association, growers were asked to estimate their losses. On average they saw their losses as at least twice the official estimates.

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