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Publication #FOR120

Selecting Tropical and Subtropical Tree Species for Wind Resistance1

Mary L. Duryea and Eliana Kampf2

Introduction

A team of scientists at the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has been tracking and studying major hurricanes since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to determine their effect on the urban forest. One of the major goals of this study is to assemble lists of relative wind resistance for different urban tree species. These lists can assist communities to better prepare for the next hurricane season and to rebuild a healthy urban forest by selecting proper species.

This fact sheet presents the research and methodology that lead to lists of relative wind resistance for tropical and subtropical tree species (Chapter 8 reports on coastal plain tree species). It also discusses in detail its results and additional recommendations for selecting and establishing tropical and subtropical species for a healthier and more wind-resistant urban forest.

Figure 1. 

Study

Since 1992 when Hurricane Andrew struck south Florida, we have been studying the impacts of hurricanes on urban forests (Duryea et al. 1996; Duryea et al. 2007a; Duryea et al. 2007b). In 1998 when Hurricane Georges (177 km/h) crossed over the entire island of Puerto Rico, and in 2004 when Hurricanes Jeanne (193 km/h) and Charley (233 km/h) struck south Florida, we continued with these measurements. Hurricanes striking the subtropical and tropical regions of Florida and Puerto Rico, with their varied wind speeds, gave us the opportunity to study over 60 species and their comparable responses to wind. This study utilizes our results from hurricanes and incorporates results from a survey and the scientific literature to present lists of relative wind resistance for tropical and subtropical tree species.

Methods

Urban tree damage was measured within 3 to 10 days of the two hurricanes that struck Florida (Charley and Jeanne 2004) and the one that struck Puerto Rico (Georges 1998). In this study, we also included the hurricane response of some tropical/subtropical species, such as live oak (Quercus virginiana) and sabal palm (Sabal palmetto), that occur throughout Florida and were impacted by Hurricanes Erin (1995), Opal (1995), and Ivan (2004) in the Florida panhandle (Figure 2).

Hurricane Andrew measurements involved a survey of 128 homeowners in Dade County, Florida who measured and reported to us about each tree in their yards (Duryea et al. 1996). The methodology for the other hurricanes was the same and is as follows: neighborhoods at the point of landfall of the hurricane were randomly chosen. For each neighborhood, all trees were observed along street transects. For each of the three hurricanes, we sampled 26 neighborhoods and 3,678 trees (Georges), 17 neighborhoods and 2,272 trees (Charley), and 7 neighborhoods and 1,642 trees (Jeanne). (Branch loss measurements for Hurricanes Frances [2005] and Jeanne were combined and made immediately following Hurricane Jeanne).

Figure 2. 

Urban trees were measured following hurricanes striking Florida and Puerto Rico. For each hurricane, the arrow points to the location of landfall. The maximum sustained wind speed (mph) and year are included.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Results

Overall Urban Forest Loss

The percent of urban forest loss (mortality) ranged from 13% for Hurricane Georges to 16% for Hurricane Jeanne to 18% for Hurricane Charley. The urban forest loss for these hurricanes combined with hurricanes striking the southeastern coastal plain is reported in EDIS publication FOR118 Lessons Learned from Hurricanes. To evaluate tree survival and responses, we divided the species into four categories: palms, dicots, conifers, and Puerto Rico species. We then talk about native versus exotic species

Tree Survival and Branch Loss

Palms

Sabal palms along with the smaller palms such as areca (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), Manila (Veitchia merrilii) and pigmy date (Phoenix roebelenii), had 89% or greater survival (Table 1). In Hurricane Charley, palm survival was 88% compared to 77% for all other tree species (p=0.0001). In Hurricane Jeanne, palm survival was 86% versus 76% for all other tree species (p<0.0001). When compared to dicots, palms have often been observed to be more resistant to winds (Francis and Gillespie 1993; Frangi and Lugo 1991). Zimmerman et al. (1994) conclude that palms are wind resistant because they are able to lose all their leaves without losing their terminal meristem. Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), which survived poorly in Hurricane Andrew (Duryea et al. 1996), exhibited intermediate survival in both Charley’s and Georges’ winds (77% survival) (Table 1). Royal palm (Roystonea elata) which had only 63% survival in Andrew, had improved survival (87%) in Hurricane Charley in the deeper soils of the Gulf Coast. Washington palm (Washingtonia robusta) survived well in Charley’s 233 km/h (145 mph) winds (92%) but less well in Jeanne’s winds of 193 km/h (120 mph) (80%). This was perplexing to us until we looked at the height comparisons of the two populations. Washington palms in the Ft. Pierce area that experienced Hurricane Jeanne averaged 11 m in height, with 42% of the palms above 10 m, compared to an average of 4 m and only 7% over 10 m for Charley; perhaps as Washington palms acquire heights of 20 meters and above, their wind resistance starts to decline.

Dicots

Of the dicot tree species, the poorest surviving were melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Australian pine (Casuarina equisitifolia), and black olive (Bucida buceras) in Hurricane Charley. Dicots with highest survival were camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), gumbo limbo (Bursera simarouba), sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), strangler fig (Ficus aurea), live oak, and laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) (Figure 3).

Figure 3. 

Survival (%) of tree species in Hurricane Charley, which struck at 233 km/h (145 mph)


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Trees with large amounts of branch loss in a hurricane (Figure 4) may not be considered as healthy urban trees, so we re-analyzed survival taking into account branches lost. Standing trees with 50% or greater branch loss were called dead and a “new” survival was calculated (named “recalculated survival”).

Figure 4. 

A recalculation of survival (%) after considering trees with greater than or equal to 50% branch loss as dead after Hurricane Charley.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Some species such as camphor, strangler fig, laurel oak, and live oak may continue to stand in hurricane- force winds but at the same time lose large branches, especially at the 233 km/h (145 mph) winds of Charley (Figure 5).

Figure 5. 

Branch loss (%) for each tree species in Hurricane Charley, which struck land at 233 km/h (130 mph).


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

After intermediate survival in Hurricane Andrew, West Indian mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) and white cedar (Tabebuia heterophylla) exhibited higher survival in Hurricane Georges at 177 km/h (110 mph). After relatively poor survival in Andrew, 94% of the royal poinciana (Delonix regia) survived the relatively lighter winds of Hurricane Georges. In a study of 24 species of urban trees in San Juan, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Georges, species with the highest survival (lowest failed stems) were West Indian mahogany (100%), mango (Mangifera indica) (98%), queen’s crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia speciosa) (98%), and royal poinciana (98%) (Francis 2000). Species with the poorest survival were African tuliptree (Spathodea campanulata) (66%) and weeping banyan (Ficus benjamina) (70%) (Francis 2000). Studies summarized in Everham and Brokaw’s table of species resistance to catastrophic wind (1996) rank gumbo limbo, mahogany, sea grape, baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), live oak, and white cedar with high wind resistance in at least two or more studies. Species that received the lowest wind resistance ratings in two or more studies were Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), Honduras mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), swamp mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta), and Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea).

In the urban areas of the southeastern coastal plain, laurel oak trees did not survive as well as live oak and sand live oak (Quercus geminata) in four hurricanes (Duryea et al. 2007b). However, in the two south Florida hurricanes, both survival and branch loss for live and laurel oaks were similar (Figures 4 and 5). We also compared large trees of these species (greater than 50 cm diameter) and found that their survival, branch loss, and re-calculated survival were not significantly different in Jeanne and Charley (Figure 6).

Speculations about the reasons for lack of difference between live oak and laurel oak in south Florida include:

(1) Laurel oak in south Florida may be a different cultivar or variety than those in north Florida and (2) sandier soils in south Florida and their accompanying lower site quality may result in laurel oaks with shorter heights or lower height-to-diameter ratio (as occurs between the north Florida and south Florida varieties of slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii and var. densa). Still, many authors point to live oak as a tree with strong wood and little failure in hurricanes (Touliatos and Roth 1971; Swain 1979; Hook et al. 1991; Barry et al. 1993).

Conifers

Of the conifer species, baldcypress survived Hurricane Charley the best with 95% survival (Figure 3). Baldcypress also suffered little damage after Hurricane Hugo (Putz and Sharitz 1991; Gresham et al. 1991). After Hurricane Andrew, cypress trees in the Everglades National Park were still standing on the edges of the hammocks while many hardwoods had failed (Orr and Ogden 1992). Only 4% of the sand pine (Pinus clausa) survived Hurricane Jeanne; sand pine’s poor survival has been measured in several other hurricanes (Duryea 1997; Duryea et al. 2007a). South Florida slash pine is next best in wind resistance for the conifers across the south Florida hurricanes (Figure 6); however, longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), which is usually similar to slash pine in wind resistance in the coastal plain hurricanes (Duryea et al. 2007a), had 57% survival in Hurricane Charley. Survival of south Florida slash pine in pine rockland ecosystems ranged from 78% to 88% in Hurricane Andrew. Mortality of the standing pine trees continued for one year with 17% to 25% dying (Platt et al. 2000). We returned three months after Hurricane Charley and found that 27% of the standing south Florida slash pines and 48% of the standing longleaf pines had died.

Figure 6. 

When compared to live oaks, laurel oaks in south Florida (above) showed no statistical difference for either survival, branch loss, or re-calculated survival in Hurricanes Charley and Jeanne.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 7. 

South Florida slash pine had 79% survival rate after Hurricane Charley.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Puerto Rico Species

Of the species measured in Puerto Rico, the species with the highest survival and least branch damage were Santa Maria (Calophyllum calaba), Caribbean pine, schefflera, West Indian mahogany, and Oriental arborvitae (Thuja orientalis) (Table 2).

Many trees had extensive branch loss that reduced survival further with the most notable species being Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla), Napoleon’s plume (Bauhinia monandra), apple blossom (Cassia javanica), yellow cassia (Cassia siamea), swamp mahogany, mahoe (Hibiscus elatus), and African tuliptree. The 24 tree species measured in Francis’ study (2000) following Hurricane Georges also showed extensive branch damage ranging from 23% to 81%.

Similar to our study, Francis also found that West Indian mahogany was the best survivor (100% survival) and had the least branch loss, while African tuliptree suffered the most crown loss and was one of the poorest survivors (66% survival) (Francis 2000). Results for black olive and royal poinciana were also similar to those in our study, with trees surviving well (98%) but losing nearly half of their branches.

Native and Exotic Species

Native tree species survived better in Hurricanes Jeanne, Charley, and Andrew but not in Hurricane Georges (Figure 8).

Native species also lost fewer branches than exotic species in Jeanne (21% versus 36%, p=0.0001) and Charley (36% versus 39%, p=0.0001). Some of the exotic species with low survival were melaleuca, Australian pine, and queen palm, and these can be compared to native species with high survival—live oak, gumbo limbo, and sabal palm. In their extensive review of hurricanes and forest damage, Everham and Brokaw (1996) summarize that there is a trend towards more damage in exotic forest plantations, although they also point out that these exotic forests are often monocultures. Out of the 35 tree species measured after Hurricane Georges in Puerto Rico (n≥20), only four were native trees to Puerto Rico—Santa Maria, black olive, white cedar, and common calabash tree (Crescentia cujete). Santa Maria survived very well (93%), but the other three had 84%, 83%, and 67% respectively, not surviving better than many of the exotic species (Table 2). Branch loss of exotics and natives in Puerto Rico, too, appeared to be equal (31% for exotics versus 27%, not statistically significant). With few exotic species in the urban forest population, natives also did not survive better in the southeastern US coastal plain during Hurricane Ivan.

Figure 8. 

Native trees survived better than exotic trees in three south Florida hurricanes but not in Puerto Rico.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

The Survey

Arborists, urban foresters, and scientists confirmed many of our results about wind resistance but also provided new information about some species not frequently seen and measured in the urban forest. Consistent with our results, queen palm was ranked by the experts as the palm with the lowest wind resistance (Table 3). Royal palm and coconut palm were intermediate, again consistent with our results. Sabal palm was ranked high, which is consistent with our results from the tropical and northern areas of Florida (Duryea 1996; Duryea 1997; Duryea et al. 2007a). Some of the species with little information from our studies that were ranked high by the experts include pond apple (Annona glabra), cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco), and lignum vitae (Guaiacum sanctum). Species with little research information that were ranked with low wind resistance include weeping banyan, jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia), and golden trumpet (Tabebuia chrysotricha). Species ranked with high wind resistance in agreement with our results were crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), sand live oak, live oak, and both species of cypress (Taxodium distichum and T. ascendens). One perplexing species is West Indian mahogany, which fared reasonably well in Georges and Andrew (Table 1); however, the survey respondents ranked it with medium to low wind resistance. In agreement with our results but in contrast to the survey results, another study of 24 species experiencing Hurricane Georges found West Indian mahogany had the best survival and the least branch loss (Francis 2000).

Recommendations

Taking the results from our studies and incorporating the survey results and the scientific literature, we have developed lists of relative wind resistance for tropical and subtropical tree species (Table 4). These lists should be used with caution, with the knowledge that no species and no tree is completely wind proof, and with the consideration of local soil conditions, tree age, structure and health, and other urban forest conditions. In addition, hurricane characteristics other than wind, such as rain amount and storm duration, can also influence the ability of trees to survive hurricanes. In their thorough review of forest damage from wind, Everham and Brokaw (1996) concluded that species differences do exist and can be explained by differences in wood density, canopy architecture, rooting patterns, susceptibility to diseases, and bole shape. Yet these differences, they say, can also be masked by varied soil conditions, exposure, wind intensity, and cultural practices.

Important Recommendations

  • One of the most important findings reported is the rooting space results: the more rooting space that a tree has, the healthier it is, meaning better anchorage and resistance to wind.

  • Another important cultural practice for broadleaved trees is pruning. Pruning conferred more wind resistance to trees and should be considered an important practice for tree health and wind resistance.

  • Trees growing in groups or clusters were also more wind resistant compared to individual trees. This might be an especially good strategy for tree establishment in parks or larger yards.

  • Especially in south Florida, native trees appear to survive winds better than exotics. When considering species to plant, know which exotic species do not fare well in wind—some of these include melaleuca, Australian pine, queen palm, African tulip tree, and weeping banyan.

References

Duryea, M.L., G.M. Blakeslee, W.G. Hubbard, and R.A. Vasquez. 1996. Wind and trees: A survey of homeowners after Hurricane Andrew. J. Arboric. 22(1):44–50.

Duryea, M.L. 1997. Wind and trees: Surveys of tree damage in the Florida Panhandle after Hurricanes Erin and Opal. Circular 1183 of the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/). Gainesville, FL. 7 pp.

Duryea, M.L., E. Kampf, and R.C. Littell. 2007a. Hurricanes and the Urban Forest: I. Effects on Southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain Tree Species. Arboric. & Urban Forestry 33(2):83–87.

Duryea, M.L., E. Kampf, and R.C. Littell, and C. D. Rodríguez- Pedraza. 2007. Hurricanes and the Urban Forest: II. Effects on Tropical and Subtropical Tree Species. Arboric. & Urban Forestry 33(2):98–112.

Everham III, E.M. and N.V.L. Brokaw. 1996. Forest damage and recovery from catastrophic wind. The Botanical Review 62:113-185.

Fox, A.M., D.R. Gordon, J.A. Dusky, L. Tyson, and R.K. Stocker. 2005. IFAS assessment of the status of non-native plants in Florida’s natural areas. SS-AGR-225 of the University of Florida IFAS Cooperative Extension Service. http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment.html Gainesville, FL. 27 pp.

Francis, J. K. 2000. Comparison of hurricane damage to several species of urban trees in San Juan, Puerto Rico. J. Arboric. 26:189–197.

Francis, J.K. and A.J.R. Gillespie. 1993. Relating gust speed to tree damage in Hurricane Hugo, 1989. J. Arboric. 19:368–372.

Frangi, J.L. and A.E. Lugo. 1991. Hurricane damage to a flood plain forest in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23(4) (Part A. Special Issue: Ecosystem, Plant, And Animal Responses to Hurricanes in the Caribbean): 324–335.

Gresham, C.A., T.M. Williams, and D.J. Lipscomb. 1991. Hurricane Hugo wind damage to Southeastern U.S. coastal forest tree species. Biotropica 23(4) (Part A. Special Issue: Ecosystem, Plant, and Animal Responses to Hurricanes in the Caribbean):420–426.

Hook, D.D., M.A. Buford, and T.M. Williams. 1991. Impact of Hurricane Hugo on the South Carolina coastal plain forest. J. Coastal Res. (Special issue) 8:291–300.

Orr, D.W. and J.C. Ogden. 1992. The impact of Hurricane Andrew on the Ecosystems of South Florida. Conservation Biology 6(4):488–490.

Platt, W.J. , R.F. Doren, and T.V. Armentano. 2000. Effects of Hurricane Andrew on stands of slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) in the everglades region of south Florida (USA). Plant Ecology 146:43–60.

Putz, F.E., and R.R. Sharitz. 1991 Hurricane damage to old- growth forests in Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina, U.S.A. Can. J. For. Res. 21:1765–1770.

Swain, K.M. 1979. Minimizing timber damage from hurricanes. S. Lumberman 239:107–109.

Touliatos, P. and E. Roth. 1971. Hurricanes and trees: Ten lessons from Camille. J. For. 285–289.

Zimmerman, J.K., E.M. Everham III, R.B. Waide, D.J. Lodge, C.M. Taylor, and N.V.L. Brokaw. 1994. Responses of tree species to hurricane winds in a subtropical wet forest in Puerto Rico: Implications for tropical tree life histories. Ecology 82:911–922.

Tables

Table 1. 

Survival of tropical and subtropical tree species after four hurricanes*

Tree Species

Survival (%) After Each Hurricane (Wind Speed in km/h; mph)

Georges

(177 km/h; 110 mph)

Jeanne

(193 km/h; 120 mph)

Charley

(233 km/h; 145 mph)

Andrew

(265 km/h; 165 mph)

Dicots

Araucaria heterophylla

88

74

Bucida buceras

84

57

68

Bursera simarouba

89

84

Callistemon viminalle

52

Carya floridana

83

Casuarina equisitifoliaa

57

4

Cinnamomum camphorab

90

Citrus spp.

67

74

25 to 66

Coccoloba uvifera

84

64

Delonix regiac (in S. FL)

94

57

Eugenia foetida

96

Ficus aurea

84

Mangifera indica

76

60

Melaleuca quinquenerviaa

65

75

45

79

Persea americana

46

Quercus geminata

94

Quercus laurifolia

94

86

Quercus virginiana

97

78

78

Schefflera actinophylab (in C. and S. FL)

87

85

Swietenia mahagoni

92

75

Tabebuia heterophylla

83

72

Monocots – Palms

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

94

97

93

Cocos nucifera

77

77

41

Phoenix reclinatab (in S. FL)

100

Phoenix roebelenii

100

100

Roystonea elata (R. borinquena in PR)

93

87

63

Sabal palmetto

92

92

93

Syagrus romanzoffianac (in S. FL)

74

69

42

Veitchia merrilii

89

95

Washingtonia robusta

80

92

Conifers

Pinus clausa

4

Pinus elliottii var. densa (P. caribaea in PR)

89

90

79

73

Pinus palustris

57

Taxodium distichum

95

aProhibited from use in Florida

bInvasive and not recommended for use in Florida

cCaution: may be used but must be managed to prevent escape in Florida (Fox et al. 2005)

*Survival is defined as the percentage of trees still standing after the hurricane. Numbers are only presented for tree species having a sample size greater than 20 trees for each hurricane. Least Significant Differences at p=0.05 are 16% for Georges, 35% for Jeanne, and 30% for Charley; Andrew survival percentages are from Duryea et al. 1996.

Table 2. 

Survival and branch loss of tree species in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Georges (110 mph)*

Tree Species

Sample Size

Survival (%)

Branch Loss (%)

Re-calculated Survival

(%)

Araucaria heterophylla

25

88

41

52

Bauhinia monandra

31

71

41

39

Bucida buceras

286

84

33

59

Callistemon citrinus

42

81

12

69

Calophyllum calabac (in S. FL)

295

93

20

81

Cassia javanica

28

86

42

57

Cassia siamea

94

85

53

30

Crescentia cujete

21

67

12

62

Cupressus sempervirens

31

29

7

29

Delonix regiac (in S. FL)

194

94

33

68

Enterolobium cyclocarpum

20

100

23

85

Eucalyptus robusta

69

86

59

28

Ficus benjamina

65

83

25

63

Ficus macrocarpa

33

76

18

67

Ficus microcarpac (in C. & S. FL)

22

100

25

73

Hibiscus elatus

25

100

63

20

Lagerstroemia speciosa

138

88

28

70

Mangifera indica

76

76

36

51

Melaleuca quinquenerviaa

37

65

21

57

Melicoccus bijugatus

22

82

25

64

Pinus caribaea

53

89

16

85

Pterocarpus indicus

32

97

29

75

Pterocarpus macrocarpus

43

95

33

77

Schefflera actinophyllab (in C. & S. FL)

24

88

17

79

Spathodea campanulata

24

67

52

37

Swietenia mahagoni

146

92

21

80

Swietenia macrophylla

69

74

28

64

Swietenia macrophylla x mahagoni

36

89

43

58

Tabebuia heterophylla

334

83

26

65

Terminalia cattapac (in S. FL)

44

89

35

52

Thuja orientalis

36

92

16

86

Least Significant Difference, p=0.05

16

21

23

aProhibited from use in Florida

bInvasive and not recommended for use in Florida

cCaution: may be used but must be managed to prevent escape in Florida (Fox et al. 2005)

*Reported rates exclude Palms (see Table 1). Re-calculated survival was calculated by subtracting trees with ≥ 50% branch loss. Numbers are only presented for tree species having a sample size greater than 20 trees for each hurricane.

Table 3. 

Survey results for wind resistance of tropical and subtropical tree species*

Scientific Name

Common Name

Wind Resistance

p-value

Total N

High

Medium

Low

   

N

%

N

%

N

%

   

Acer rubrum

red maple

12

20

32

52

17

28

0.0049

61

Annona glabra

pond apple

10

71

4

29

0

0

n.s.

14

Araucaria heterophylla

Norfolk Island pine

8

18

14

31

23

51

0.0224

45

Averrhoa carambola

star-fruit or carambola

3

18

6

35

8

47

n.s.

17

Bauhinia blakeana

Hong Kong orchid

1

5

9

41

12

54

0.0122

22

Bucida buceras

black olive

8

30

14

52

5

18

0.0538

27

Bursera simarouba

gumbo limbo

21

64

10

30

2

6

0.0007

33

Callistemon spp

bottlebrush

8

21

23

61

7

18

0.0018

38

Calophyllum calaba c (in S. FL)

Brazilian beautyleaf

6

38

8

50

2

12

n.s.

16

Cassia fistula

golden shower

4

18

7

32

11

50

n.s.

22

Ceiba (or Chorisia) speciosa

floss-silk

4

18

12

55

6

27

0.0498

22

Chrysobalanus icaco

cocoplum

18

78

5

22

0

0

0.0067

23

Chrysophyllum oliviforme

satinleaf

11

61

7

39

0

0

n.s.

18

Citrus spp.

citrus (lime, orange, etc.)

18

44

18

44

5

12

0.0162

41

Coccoloba diversifolia

pigeon plum

11

58

8

42

0

0

n.s.

19

Coccoloba uvifera

sea grape

18

50

12

33

6

17

0.0498

36

Conocarpus erectus

buttonwood

11

35

17

55

3

10

0.0084

31

Cordia sebestena

geiger tree

8

33

13

54

3

12

0.0439

24

x Cupressocyparis leylandii

leyland cypress

7

22

13

41

12

37

n.s.

32

Delonix regia c (in S. FL)

royal poinciana

2

6

20

63

10

31

0.0005

32

Enterolobium cyclocarpum

ear tree

1

5

7

33

13

62

0.0058

21

Eriobotrya japonica c (in S. & C. FL)

loquat

9

24

24

63

5

13

0.0004

38

Eucalyptus cinerea

silver dollar eucalyptus

2

13

9

56

5

31

n.s.

16

Eugenia axillaris

white stopper

7

64

3

27

1

9

n.s.

11

Eugenia foetida

boxleaf, Spanish stopper

7

64

2

18

2

18

n.s.

11

Ficus aurea

strangler fig

4

36

5

46

2

18

n.s.

11

Ficus benjamina

weeping banyan

0

0

2

18

9

82

0.0348

11

Grevillea robusta

silk oak

1

4

8

32

16

64

0.0012

25

Guaiacum sanctum

lignumvitae

10

83

2

17

0

0

0.0209

12

Ilex cassine

dahoon holly

35

76

10

22

1

2

0.0001

46

Jacaranda mimosifolia

jacaranda, black poui

1

7

2

13

12

80

0.0006

15

Juniperus silicicola

SE red cedar

14

28

18

35

19

37

n.s.

51

Kigelia pinnata

sausage tree

7

41

6

35

4

24

n.s.

17

Koelreuteria paniculata

golden raintree

11

37

11

37

8

26

n.s.

30

Krugiodendron ferreum

ironwood

10

77

3

23

0

0

n.s.

13

Lagerstroemia indica

crape myrtle

55

83

11

17

0

0

0.0001

66

Ligustrum japonicum

privet

30

75

9

23

1

2

0.0001

40

Liquidambar styraciflua

sweetgum

19

43

22

50

3

7

0.0013

44

Litchi chinensis

lichee

8

57

5

36

1

7

n.s.

14

Lysiloma latisiliqua

wild tamarind

9

50

6

33

3

17

n.s.

18

Magnolia grandiflora

SE magnolia

45

82

9

16

1

2

0.0001

55

Mangifera indica

mango tree

6

20

16

53

8

27

n.s.

30

Peltophorum pterocarpa

yellow poinciana

1

5

15

68

6

27

0.0010

22

Persea americana

avocado tree

1

3

20

63

11

34

0.0002.

32

Pinus clausa

sand pine

3

7

7

16

34

77

0.0001

44

Pinus elliottii var. densa

FL slash pine

18

38

25

52

5

10

0.0016

48

Pinus palustris

longleaf pine

23

56

13

32

5

12

0.0017

41

Podocarpus spp.

podocarpus

24

75

7

22

1

3

0.0001

32

Prunus caroliniana

carolina laurel cherry

5

16

15

48

11

36

n.s.

31

Quercus geminata

sand live oak

36

92

2

5

1

3

0.0001

39

Quercus laurifolia

laurel oak

3

4

27

39

39

57

0.0001

69

Quercus nigra

water oak

3

8

14

36

22

56

0.0009

39

Quercus stellata

post oak

5

33

10

67

0

0

n.s.

15

Quercus virginiana

live oak

64

89

8

11

0

0

0.0001

72

Sideroxylon foetidissimum

mastic tree

3

30

6

60

1

10

n.s.

10

Simarouba glauca

paradise tree

5

42

5

42

2

16

n.s.

12

Spathodea campanulata

African tuliptree

0

0

6

38

10

62

n.s.

16

Swietenia mahagoni

West Indian mahagony

2

9

13

56

8

35

n.s.

23

Tabebuia aurea

silver trumpet

0

0

4

33

8

67

n.s.

12

Tabebuia chrysotricha

golden trumpet

2

7

5

18

21

75

0.0001

28

Tabebuia heterophylla

white cedar

0

0

6

55

5

45

n.s.

11

Tabebuia impetiginosa

purple tabebuia, ipe

3

12

12

50

9

38

n.s.

24

Tecoma stans

yellow elder

0

0

8

73

3

27

n.s.

11

Terminalia catappa c (in S. FL)

tropical almond

3

20

8

53

4

27

n.s.

15

Taxodium distichum

baldcypress

59

91

6

9

0

0

0.0001

65

Taxodium ascendens

pondcypress

41

91

4

9

0

0

0.0001

45

Palms

Butia capitata

pindo

34

79

7

16

2

5

0.0001

43

Caryota mitis

fishtail

8

38

6

29

7

33

n.s.

21

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

areca

19

63

11

37

0

0

n.s.

30

Coccothrinax argentata

FL silver, silver thatch

21

95

1

5

0

0

0.0001

22

Cocos nucifera

coconut

22

63

13

37

0

0

n.s.

35

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis

bottle

13

81

3

19

0

0

0.0124

16

Hyophorbe verschaffeltii

spindle

11

79

2

14

1

7

0.0015

14

Latania loddigesii

blue latan

8

67

3

25

1

8

0.0388

12

Livistona chinensis c (in S. & C. FL)

chinese fan

29

71

9

22

3

7

0.0001

41

Neodypsis decaryi

triangle

14

58

6

25

4

17

0.0302

24

Phoenix canariensis

Canary Island date

49

89

4

7

2

4

0.0001

55

Phoenix dactylifera

date

33

94

2

6

0

0

0.0001

35

Phoenix reclinata b (in S. FL)

Senegal date

29

85

5

15

0

0

0.0001

34

Phoenix roebelenii

pygmy date

40

98

1

2

0

0

0.0001

41

Ptychosperma elegans

Alexander, solitary

16

73

6

27

0

0

0.0330

22

Roystonea elata

Florida royal

19

56

10

29

5

15

0.0118

34

Roystonea regia

Cuban royal

17

61

10

36

1

4

0.0010

28

Sabal palmetto

cabbage

71

99

1

1

0

0

0.0001

72

Syagrus romanzoffiana c (in S. FL)

queen

5

10

17

33

29

57

0.0002

51

Thrinax morrisii

Key thatch

13

87

2

13

0

0

0.0045

15

Thrinax radiata

Florida thatch

17

89

2

11

0

0

0.0006

19

Veitchia merrillii

Manila, Christmas

13

81

3

19

0

0

0.0124

16

Washingtonia robusta

Washington fan

29

54

16

30

9

17

0.0033

54

b Invasive and not recommended for use in Florida

c Caution: may be used but must be managed to prevent escape in Florida (Fox et al. 2005)

*Results of the survey of arborists, scientists, and urban foresters in Florida with their rankings for wind resistance of tropical and subtropical tree species. N is the number of respondents for each species, out of a total of 85 experts. P-values from the chi-square test for equal proportions indicate the significance level for one or more of the categories being different from the others; n.s. means that there is no significant difference between the categories of high, medium, and low (p>0.05).

Table 4. 

Wind resistance of tropical and subtropical tree species*

Highest Wind Resistance

Medium–High Wind Resistance

Dicots

Dicots

Bursera simaruba, gumbo limbo

Carya Floridana, Florida scrub hickory

Conocarpus erectus, buttonwood

Chrysobalanus icaco, cocoplum

Cordia sebestena, geiger tree

Eugenia axillaris, white stopper

Eugenia confusa, redberry

Eugenia foetida, boxleaf stopper

Guaiacum sanctum, lignum vitae

Ilex cassine, dahoon holly

Krugiodendrum ferreum, ironwood

Lagerstroemia indica, crape myrtle

Magnolia grandiflora, southern magnolia

Podocarpus spp, podocarpus Quercus virginiana, live oak

Quercus geminata, sand live oak

Annona glabra, pond apple

Calophyllum calaba, Brazilian beautyleafc

Chrysophyllum oliviforme, satinleaf

Coccoloba uvifera, sea grape

Coccoloba diversifolia, pigeon plum

Liquidambar styraciflua, sweetgum

Lysiloma latsiliqua, wild tamarind

Magnolia virginiana, sweetbay magnolia

Nyssa sylvatica, black tupelo

Sideroxylon foetidissimum, mastic

Simarouba glauca, paradise tree

Swietenia mahagoni, mahogany

Conifers

Conifers

Taxodium ascendens, pondcypress

Taxodium distichum, baldcypress

N/A

Palms

Palms

Butia capitata, pindo or jelly

Dypsis lutescens, areca

Coccothrinax argentata, Florida silver

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis, bottle

Hyophorbe verschaffeltii, spindle

Latania loddigesii, blue latan

Livistona chinensis, Chinese fanb

Phoenix canariensis, Canary Island date

Phoenix dactylifera, date

Phoenix reclinata, Senegal dateb

Phoenix roebelenii, pygmy date

Ptychoesperma elegans, Alexander

Sabal palmetto, cabbage, sabal

Thrinax morrisii, key thatch

Thrinax radiata, Florida thatch

Veitchia merrillii, Manila

Caryota mitis, fishtail

Cocos nucifera, coconut

Dypsis decaryi, triangle

Roystonea elata, royal

Fruit Trees

Fruit Trees

N/A

Litchi chinensis, lychee

Medium–Low Wind Resistance

Lowest Wind Resistance

Dicots

Dicots

Acer rubrum, red maple

Bauhinia blakeana, Hong-Kong orchid

Bucidas buceras, black olive

Callistemon spp, bottlebrush

Cinnamomum camphora, camphorb

Delonix regia, royal poincianac

Enterolobium cyclocarpum, ear tree

Eriobotrya japonica, loquatc

Eucalyptus cinerea, silverdollar eucalyptus

Ficus aurea, strangler fig

Kigelia pinnata, sausage tree

Myrica cerifera, wax myrtle

Persea borbonia, redbay

Platanus occidentalis, sycamore

Quercus laurifolia, laurel oak

Tabebuia heterophylla, pink trumpet tree

Terminalia catappa, tropical almondc

Casuarina equisetifolia, Australian pinea

Cassia fistula, golden shower

Chorisia speciosa, floss-silk tree

Ficus benjamina, weeping banyan

Grevillea robusta, silk oak

Jacaranda mimosifolia, jacaranda

Melaleuca quinquenervia, melaleucaa

Quercus nigra, water oak

Peltophorum pterocarpa, yellow poinciana

Prunus caroliniana, Carolina laurelcherry

Sapium sebiferum, Chinese tallowa

Spathodea campanulata, African tuliptree

Tabebuia caraiba, silver trumpet tree

Ulmus parvifolia, Chinese elm

Conifers

Conifers

Pinus elliottii, slash pine

Pinus palustris, longleaf pine

Araucaria heterophylla, Norfolk Island pine

x Cupressocyparis leylandii, Leyland cypress

Juniperus silicicola, southern red cedar

Pinus clausa, sand pine

Palms

Palms

N/A

Syagnus romanzoffiana, queenc

Washingtonia robusta, Washington fan

Fruit trees

Fruit trees

Averrhoa carambola, star-fruit, carambola

Citrus spp, oranges, limes, grapefruits

Mangifera indica, mango

Persea americana, avocado

a Prohibited from use in Florida

b Invasive and not recommended for use in Florida

c Caution: may be used but must be managed to prevent escape in Florida (Fox et al. 2005)

*Wind resistance of tropical and subtropical tree species as estimated utilizing the hurricane measurements and the survey results in this study, and the scientific literature cited throughout this publication.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FOR120, one of a series of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 2007. Revised June 2017. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Mary L. Duryea, emeritus professor, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; and Eliana Kampf, academic program specialist II, Horticultural Sciences; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


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