Trees face many challenges to their continued growth and survival including pressure from overdevelopment, climate change, exotic pests/diseases, storms etc. In Fort Lauderdale and much of South Florida, trees face the added challenge of exposure to salt water during King Tide events, which typically occur between August and November of each year. King Tides are the highest tides of the year and can cause salt water flooding of low-lying areas. Their occurrence corresponds to specific phases of the moon and can be exacerbated by other factors, such as storms.
Increased salt water flooding can cause tree impacts including premature leaf drop, leaf burn and, in some cases, complete death of the exposed tree. To combat the effects of King Tides on trees, the following are highly recommended for trees in locations vulnerable to tidal flooding:
Planting of Florida native salt tolerant trees (i.e. Orange Geiger, Gumbo Limbo, Jamaican Caper);
Utilization of planting methods such as Mounded Planting which elevates the trees roots above grade and reduces salt water exposure (reference image below); and
Implementation of a tree maintenance plan that includes proper watering, pruning and fertilization to optimize tree health.
Trees that are salt intolerant and/or stressed due to improper planting and maintenance are often the first to succumb to saltwater flooding events. For additional information on how to protect your trees and prepare for King Tides, please visit the following websites: