The Atlantic hurricane season blows in on June 1 and keeps us on our toes until Nov. 30.
Experts predict there's going to be an "above average" number of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Now, while the coronavirus has many of us homebound, is a good time to get your yard ready to face any coming storms.
Start with the trees
Perhaps the most laborious task will be checking your trees and plants. Inspect large trees and shrubs for dead branches, which should be removed so they do not blow into houses or cars or knock down power lines.
You may be able to safely prune smaller trees, but leave limb removal on large trees, especially those near your home, to a licensed and bonded tree service or arborist.
To make trees more hurricane resistant, they should be trimmed and trained to one dominant trunk well up into the canopy. Branches along the outer edges (not the interior) of the canopy should be thinned, making your tree less likely to be blown over.
Overly long branches also should be shortened, and branches with cracks should be removed or shortened. You also want to prune low branches that are close to your roof.
Shrubs close to your home should be pruned back a couple of feet from the structure. If you have palm trees, remove any hanging or dead palm fronds.
Make sure any debris or wood that is removed is taken away from the house site as soon as possible.
Nail it down
Next, you'll want to make sure that anything that can be picked up by a heavy wind is or can be secured. That includes planters, tools or trellises.
Other items you will want to move to a safe spot, so scope out now where that will be. Make sure you have enough room for container plants, hanging baskets, sculptures, figurines, flags, bird feeders, patio furniture and any other loose items.
Large container plants that are too heavy to move can be laid on their sides during the storm. Be sure to place them upright after the storm has passed.
Clear drainage systems
This is one of the most important tasks you can do to keep stormwaters from causing floods. If you see leaves or other debris clogging street storm drains, report it to your city's or parish's public works department.
Do not put grass clippings, leaves and other yard debris in street drains.
In flower beds, secure mulch by placing a barrier to prevent it from being washed away in a heavy downpour. Place pavers under downspouts to limit soil erosion.
Make sure gutters are clear of leaves, branches and other debris so that water moves away from your home in heavy rains, and check that all gutters are securely fastened to the house.
Try to cut the grass before the storm. Who knows how long before you will be able to cut it again?
If you have rain barrels and compost bins, be sure to secure them before the storm or move them to a protected area. Leave the spigot open if the rain barrel is full.
Unplug water features and fountains and make sure they are tied down. If possible, cover electrical cords and boxes.
If you have a vegetable garden, harvest anything you can. If the area floods and the produce remains underwater for a time, it is likely to spoil.