My homestead was recently destroyed in Hurricane Michael and I have been thinking a lot about how I'm going to rebuild. Some backround: We had started planting some trees (Apple, banana, pear, peach, mulberry) and had done a lot of work on the property but we put all of that on hold to work overseas for a couple years. Luckily we weren't home, and our insurance took care of us, so everything is fine regarding that...What sucks is we lost just about all of the trees we planted (one lonely Mulberry tree survived and some tattered banana trees may regrow). I really wanted to get a food forest going and have a variety of fruit trees planted but now I'm afraid that another hurricane could come and wipe away it all away again. Are there any particular trees that are more resistant to wind, or are there ways we can protect trees in the event of another hurricane?
Sorry to hear about the damage and hope rebuilding goes smoothly and quickly.
An Arborist once advised that thinning the canopy of a tree stops it acting like a sail capturing wind. Espaliering them like a grape vine may also make them less prone to damage.
A food forest may lessen effects even if it sits in isolation to the surrounding environment, but it would need to follow design principles closely e.g. Horizontal and vertical layering, starting low around the perimeter and progressively getting higher - it deflects wind upwards and over in all but the most extreme conditions.
'Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.'
Sorry to hear about your storm damage. I, too lost a lot of trees in a storm. Since you are planting fruit trees, are they dwarf/semi dwarf? Could you possibly surround the orchard with flexible trees like willows? They might slow down the wind without themselves breaking, thus buffering the effects of the wind on your orchard trees.
I am not certain how well this would work, but it might be worth a try.
Next time you are on the site, do some observation in the neighborhood and elsewhere along the hurricane's path and see which trees in which situations fared best. My suspicion is that you will find that very strong, relatively low-growing species (live oak comes to mind)that resist the wind and direct it up and over them; and also supple, fine leaved species (such as Casuarina for instance) which allow the wind to pass through....will have fared better than most. Also palms of all kinds. The next step would be to find food-producing species in these groups, or perhaps use them as a windbreak if your property is large enough.
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