How To Help Your Vegetation After The Hurricane

October 17, 2016

[Written by Jeff Sousa] I am – as all of you are – grateful there was no loss of life due to very powerful Hurricane Nicole, which delivered a direct hit to our lovely Island as a Category 3 hurricane.

As we have all seen, the damage to our vegetation island-wide was substantial. Wind is nature’s way of pruning, as it gets the dead wood out of the trees and it knocks off the dead fronds from those very high-to-reach palms. But when you get gusts up to 130mph, and very strong hurricane winds for a long period of time, the damage to vegetation throughout Bermuda, is not pleasant to see.

Slideshow of the aftermath of Hurricane Nicole:


It is remarkable in our subtropical climate, how nature heals the regrowth in a year or two. I remember so well, the damage we sustained from Hurricane Emily in 1987. Bermuda looked horrible following her trail of devastation, but everything grew back and new trees and palms were planted. Then there was Hurricane Fabian in 2003 which likewise, caused major vegetation damage and regrettably, loss of life.

Having been in the landscape trade for over 40 years, these hurricanes have taught me a great deal about our vegetation. For example, many of our endemic species – and there are 17 of them – stand up very well to the strong winds. The three common ones that everyone knows well are, the Bermuda cedar, palmetto and olivewood, where many of the introduced species do not do near as well.

Some advice regarding the damage to your own personal vegetation on your property is of course, to prune back all damaged limbs. If there is height work, please make a point to call a professional, and if trees are close to power lines, you must call BELCO to assist.

If you have a tree that you are fond of, and it is uprooted, as long as the roots remain in the ground, it can be saved. This is the same with palms. Annuals will need to be replaced. If you prune back many of your perennials such as plumbago, lantana and pentas to name a few, they will shoot back in no time, as we are still experiencing 80 degree-plus weather. Always use hand pruners or shears to produce a clean cut. You should NEVER use a machete to do this.

I would consider Hurricane Nicole a wet hurricane which produced lots of rain, so washing off your shrubs’ foliage that may have lots of salt water on it, is not going to be a high priority as it has been with storms in the past. In the coming weeks however, watering will assist.

In the next few weeks, everything will look burnt. In the coming month, lots of the dead leaves will drop, but it will not be long before we will see new shoots that will bring new life. It has happened before and it will happen again in the future. This unfortunately, is one of the prices we pay to live in paradise.

If you have any questions in particular, I will be very happy to help. Please email me at or inbox me on Facebook as Jefferson Colby Sousa.

click here Bermuda Hurricane Nicole

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Category: All, Environment, News

Comments (4)

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  1. Ride says:

    Helpful hints and smooth marketing rolled into one. Smart move SLM, smart more.

  2. Stay Safe says:

    Nicole took care of some of the overgrown vegetation, hopefully, Government and property owners will now cut back and cut down their overgrown trees. There are sidewalks we cannot walk on. Roads that we have problems driving as the branches are out on the road – Palmetto Road, North Shore, South Road, Southcote Road, Ord Road, Tucker’s Town Road to name a few.

  3. POOL BOY says:

    Hey. Mr sousa. Whats up? Big storm!

    Can you kindly tell your boys to point there blowers AWAY FROM the POOLS!!

    No joke