Before the Event
Greenhouses should be constructed to meet Florida Building Code.
- Make sure the nursery infrastructure has been well maintained. Clear ditches of weeds and debris so maximum drainage can occur. Make sure interior roads are in good repair to allow access to all areas of the nursery.
- Prune trees near the nursery so there is less resistance to high winds.
- Open drainage ditches to help remove flood waters.
- Crown the growing beds.
- Make sure all buildings are in good repair. Secure all windows, doors, siding and roofing according to building codes. Once wind gets under loose building materials, they will be ripped off.
- Tie down portable sheds and trailers. Evaluate whether you should remove the coverings on greenhouses and shade structures prior to a storm. Growers must decide for themselves whether it is better to let the roof and sides be torn off or allow for less resistance.
- Prior to a storm, evaluate your potential post-storm needs, and secure building materials required to minimally repair facilities.
- Make sure all equipment is serviced and adequate supplies are on hand. For days to weeks after a hurricane, normal deliveries may be disrupted.
- Surplus Shade Cloth
- Generator (purchased or leased) in case of power failure
- Fuel for Generator and Motor Vehicles
- Fire Extinguishers
- First Aid Kit
- Potting Soil, Fungicides, etc.
- Make arrangements for power. Power lines may be disabled for days or weeks, jeopardizing irrigation systems. Develop a plan for irrigation, running office functions, running propagation areas, etc.
- Make sure you have crop insurance. Crop insurance is a requirement for participation in federal disaster programs. You must sign up for a program well before a storm threat, as there is a 30-day hold on new policies when a storm is approaching.
- Allow plenty of time to get prepared. Do not run short of time and risk not getting everything done you need to do.
- Designate nursery workers to prepare for the storm. However, allow crew members to secure their own homes first. Establish a means of communicating with your employees. Your employees will need to know what you expect of them after the storm.
- Check supplies.
- Secure all loose items, nursery containers, stakes, etc. Tie down anything possible, as loose items become missiles in a storm. Secure all equipment in an area not likely to be damaged. List all equipment serial numbers.
- Lay down plant materials, parallel to the expected wind direction. Winds in excess of 100 miles per hour will strip foliage from plant materials. Plants may be blown down anyway, so they may survive better if you lay them down. Water plants fully prior to a storm.
- Move plants from low areas to prevent damage from flood water.
- Remove large plants in containers from the beaches.
- Inventory your plants and equipment. This will help in the event you need to file a claim or determine the damage you have. Also, it will allow for recovery of some lost items.
- Transport valuables to a warehouse for storage, or fill trucks and trailers with valuable plants.
- Remove shade cloth from shade structures and store indoors.
- Open or remove doors to glass greenhouses to prevent a vacuum.
- Remove any debris that could blow against the side of the greenhouse.
- Anchor nursery signs or store them inside.
- Turn off propane and natural gas.
- Shut off electrical power to avoid surges that could damage fans, pumps or other equipment.
- Have emergency numbers for your crop and property insurance agents, local police, fire and other emergency contacts.
Updated May 2012