Trees and shrubs can provide a valuable buffer that can reduce storm damage. Foliage density and topography can modify wind speed and direction; however, high winds and storms can cause damage to trees. Studies of trees following hurricanes offer the ability to place trees in one of two categories -- “Survivor Trees” or “Victim Trees."
Survivor Tree – a compact tree that has a major tap root and well-developed secondary roots. It also has a well-tapered trunk, and its center of gravity is low. Survivor trees that are healthy, young-to-middle-aged and well-maintained survive storms well.
Victim Tree – a shallow-rooted tree with a high center of gravity that is weighed down by a dense canopy. Victim trees are generally fast-growing and weak-wooded. In storms they usually either snap or uproot.
Characteristics of Wind-Resistant Trees
LSU Landscape Professor D.G. “Buck” Abbey's Top 10 Hurricane-Resistant Trees
Other Good Wind-Resistant Tree Species:
“Victim” or Weak-Wood Trees
Mature water oaks were severely damaged along Hurricane Andrew's path. These trees have short, shallow roots. It is a classic example of fast-growing, weak-wooded trees that have a shallow root system growing in heavy clay soil and were either uprooted or had stems snapped.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture