How do I protect my garden from Tropical Storm Sandy?

mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)October 23, 2012

Okay, first question, can you tell me which forum I should have posted this question in? I have no clue where, so I chose this one since it's closest to what I'm looking for.

Second, I have a peach tree(7ft, not staked), a blueberry bush(2ft, not staked), a black berry bush(3 1/2ft, not staked) rose bush(4 1/2ft, not staked) and a lilac(2ft not staked). I wouldn't worry about it if you told me not to, but since Irene hit and everybody said, "She's not gonna hit us. She's gonna roll out to sea." and yet she devastated my location. So, I'm not going to believe anybody anymore when they say that Sandy wont strike my location. Anyway, back to the question, how would I protect all of my plants? My potted Magnolia Jane is 100% defoliated now. Will it be safe out in the storm without a stake, or should I stake it for the storm anyway? Thanks in advanced.

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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

Or should I just bring my magnolia inside? Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 6:30AM
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This appears to be a moment to extract some sympathetic thoughts for those of us in the nursery business in hurricane prone areas. Move potted plants inside a structure under cover. Understand that tough plants in the ground such as raspberries/blueberries/lilacs/roses will weather the storm perhaps requiring an early spring pruning to 'clean' them up. If young saplings are damaged or tipped out of the ground during a storm I always tend to their individual needs the day after and stake if necessary. No longer have to deal with these types of growing problems. Your question asked. Hope this answers it.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 8:28AM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

Thank you. That did answer my question, but I just read the updated forecast:

Scenarios: Is Sandy a U.S. Threat?

The weather channel is now saying that Tropical Storm Sandy can potentially bring temps so cold at this time of the year in the NE that the rain could turn into snow (An event SIMILAR to "SNOWTOBER"). My rose bush(which is right next to my house in the "RED ZONE") may be in danger because any snow buildup on my rooftop can fall and land on it. I planted it in a horrible location without thinking about our winters. Will my rose bush be okay, or should I protect it? If so, how do I protect it? I hope all we get is wind, rain, and NO snow. Why I wish for wind, I have no clue. We definitely need the rain though. Thanks for any additional help.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 8:44AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

The rose bush -- don't worry about it. Either it makes it, or you get a new rose and plant it in a better place. You have other more important concerns. Stay safe.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:50AM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

I'm already prepared for the storm, that's why I want to prepare my plants, because I have time to.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 7:28PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Any container plants that might blow over should probably be moved into the garage before the high winds hit. As to other things planted in the ground, there really isn't much you can do. If they were recently planted and haven't rooted in fully, you may very well find they get tipped over or blown out of the ground if wind speeds are high enough. I'd be more concerned about covering windows with plywood if necessary, and looking at bringing inside any thing that could be blown against the house or out of your yard. That might include satellite dishes, trash cans, outdoor light poles or landscape lighting fixtures, etc. Plants are generally going to be cheaper to replace if necessary. You don't mention how close you are to salt water, but if storm surge affects you, hosing down plants to remove salt is helpful after the storm blows over. If you get flooded with salt water, you will probably also have losses afterwards.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 10:34PM
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Not much you can do when a real storm hits.
Just bring in anything even remotely portable and cross your fingers. Stakes, covers, cages, supports- anything you do can be blown away by forces capable of lifting trucks.
This is what your living room looks like during a storm, LOL-

I lost gardens to storms several times before I got smart and left South Florida so I sure feel your pain.
Bring everything possible in, board the windows, and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:58AM
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I don't have a lot of experience with this, but my instinct is that it may be better not to stake the trees. Trees bend to the wind so the wind does not break them. If you stake them, you may do more damage because as the wind pushes the tree, the bark or even the entire tree can be strained against the wire with which you have staked it .

Some things that may help if you are prepared and safe in all other areas: could prune buds blooms off any shrubs ( the rose lilac etc) You can prune down the blueberries blackberries and even the trees so there is less for the wind to catch.
2. You don't mention where you are, other than zone 5 NE, but you said the magnolia has defoliated. Since my magnolias are just in the process of losing their leaves, but I am zone 4 central NH, I am going to assume a seasonal similarity. If you can, bring the magnolia into the garage, or inside. If it is heavy and its worth it to you you can usually rent a dolly at the hardware store that makes moving large pots easier.
3. If things are going dormant for winter where you are, as I am assuming, you can cut back any perennials. Even if they are still green, they will be going dormant before they can send out new growth - so its okay to cut them back a little earlier than you planned.
4.If you winter prune your fruit trees, you can do that now to limit wind damage. The risk is that the winter will be bad and freeze the new cuts - but my guess is that is a pretty low risk. Depending on how the forecasts progress I may do this step myself. (I have already cut back all perennials in my garden and in my customers gardens)
5. If I am correct that you are in the NE, I would also prepare for heavy wet snow. ANything you would do in your region to prepare for that I would recommend doing. Except maybe wrapping shrubs.

I drove through Vermont several times this summer, and the devastation there from hurricane Irene is tremendous. The mountains funneled the torrential rains, flooding streams, rivers towns and roads. I took some pictures intending to post them for discussion; maybe this is timely, but I will start a new thread.

We could also call this Hurricane Kelsey: My daughter Kelsey is flying from santiago chile to miami tonight and then to Boston tomorrow after 3 months away. The path of the hurricane is threatening her flights and I think she will be pretty upset to go from spring in Chile, completely miss fall and land in Winter here. Whatever, I just can't wait for her to get home!!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:18PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I'm listening to Sandy howl as I write this .lol Rain bands about every 30 minutes . Winds should remain under
50 but only in gusts so i didn't even put up the shutters . I usually lay everything in a corner that is portable those in the ground are on their own. Usually whatever i did resulted in more damage than the storm.
If badly damaged i look as it as an opportunity to try new stuff . Don't think I'll have to deal with snow or ice!!! Good luck with that!! gary

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 5:33AM
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