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Choosing Trees and Shrubs That Withstand High Winds

by Lynn Ganster, PA 03/16/2020

Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Windy conditions have the potential to cause branches to break and can strip leaves from deciduous plants and trees. In certain cases, heavy winds can uproot trees and shrubs altogether. This creates dangerous situations for homeowners or others in the area, and it's also frustrating when landscaping plants are severely damaged or destroyed by high winds. Wind levels tend to be higher in coastal communities than inland, and storms often cause considerable damage to trees and shrubs. Although there's no foolproof way to prevent this from happening, you can hedge your bets by choosing wind-resistant plants. Following are five trees and shrubs that withstand high winds. 

Southern Magnolia

Southern magnolia is native to the Southeastern United States, which means it evolved under windy coastal conditions and is uniquely adapted to the area. It's a tall, spreading tree that grows up to 90 feet and has dense, heavy wood. They make excellent shade trees, and you'll want to leave your windows open as often as possible in late spring when it's in bloom so that you enjoy the heavenly aroma of the flowers. 

Flowering Dogwood

Flowering dogwood is another native tree that's well suited for including in coastal landscaping. It's a better choice than Southern magnolia for homeowners with smaller lot sizes because it doesn't take up nearly as much space -- at most, it only grows to about 40 feet. It blooms in spring and comes in white, pink and red varieties. 

Sabal Palm

Sabal palm is known by several different names, including palmetto and cabbage  palm. As the state tree of Florida, it's well acclimated to blustery wind conditions that come with coastal living. They thrive in sandy soils and are very salt-tolerant. 

Indian Hawthorne

Indian hawthorne is a sturdy, slow-growing shrub that thrives in sunny locations. Although it isn't native to the American South, it comes from a region in Asia that experiences similar climate conditions. It produces white through pink flowers in spring and rarely grows taller than three or four feet. 

Crape Myrtle 

Crape myrtle is another Asian transplant that has acclimated very well to the American South. Cultivated as shrubs or small trees, they can grow to about 12 feet but can easily be pruned back if you want to keep them shorter. The flowers come in white through red, and unlike the choices listed above, they bloom in late summer or autumn. 

Strong, healthy plants are less likely to be harmed by high winds because their wood is more resilient, and healthy root systems serve as anchors to hold them firmly in place. Additionally, shrubs that are planted in groups withstand high wind conditions better than their single specimen counterparts.

About the Author

Lynn Ganster, PA

It all began when I was 18 years old and my soon to be husband and I were searching for our first home...

I loved the idea that I could be part of someones life experience but I had a life to live before acting on that idea! I never knew much about the industry, but after seeing the process firsthand of a difficult transaction my husband and I were involved in and how important each part of the ordeal was for both my husband, myself, and the owner, I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of. Of course, I didn’t pursue real estate until I was finally able to dive in back in 2004, but it’s been a passion for as long as I can remember.