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Increased hurricane wind speeds will have a greater impact our trees

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As the result of climate change, we’re now facing more frequent and stronger hurricanes. Retired certified master arborist Michael Murphy recently shared with me projections from Professor Kim Coder at the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry. Future storms will have up to six percent stronger wind loads. Wind loads are the amount of force in pounds per square foot exerted on living or physical structures during storms, be it your house or trees in your yard. The weakest link can cause failure or the object. Don’t think six percent is much –calculate what that would mean in your weight and how your clothes would fit. Fortunately, there are new pruning standards that can dramatically reduce damage likely occur to your trees. It goes against the previous practice of removing interior shoots and suckers, leaving bare limbs.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.