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Lollipops and Hurricane Cuts

As landscapers, horticulturists, arborists, and general admirers of Mother Natures’ talent for painting colorful scenery, the only thing that makes our skin crawl more than critters is any landscape conversation that has the words lollipop and hurricane cut in it. Lollipopping, in landscape speak, refers to the desire to shape a bush or shrub in an unnatural composition. This practice, although artistic, not only disfigures the plant material, but also has the potential to cause harm to its development and survival. The same can be said for the “Hurricane Cut” that is often requested by properties with palm trees.

In the hopes of laying to rest the myth and misinformation regarding the “Hurricane Cut”, LMP’s own International Society of Arborists (ISA) Certified Arborist and Tree Risk Assessment Specialist – Leon Jennings, shares the following information from the University of Florida IFAS:

Traditionally, arborists have been asked to prune palms prior to the arrival of hurricane season. “Hurricane-cut” palms have most of their leaves cut off, leaving only a tuft of the youngest leaves intact. The intent was to reduce wind resistance in the palm, thereby protecting it from wind damage. However, observations of palms after the severe hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 in Florida showed that these “hurricane-cut” palms were more likely to have their crowns snapped off than those with fuller crowns. This may be because the youngest leaves left on these over pruned palms have not hardened off to the extent that older leaves have and lack the support of the older leaf bases“.

To learn more about the harm this practice can cause healthy palm trees, we invite you to read the article written by Timothy K. Broschat, a professor of Environmental Horticulture: