Hurricane-Related Tree Care

REMINDER: Hurricane Season is here, and the time to trim trees and shrubs is NOW.

  • Customers are asked to avoid performing significant vegetative cutting when there is an approaching tropical system. Debris not collected can cause damage if it becomes airborne, and it can also block drainage catch basins and cause flooding.
  • Remember that tree trimming contractors are required to remove their trimmings.
  • Once a hurricane warning has been issued, collection service will be suspended. DO NOT place any vegetation at the curb, even if it is your regular pick-up day, as any remaining debris has the potential to cause considerable damage to person or property.
  • After the storm, separate the tree debris from roofing materials, metal, etc., as tree debris will be first to be picked up by the private contractors. You will be responsible for any material left at the curb. For further information, please call 480-4391.

  Maintaining Trees After the Storm (Flyer)

Trim trees the right way now to protect this asset for the future.

Deerfield Beach

This time of the year many people are concerned with preparing their trees to weather a potential hurricane The City of Deerfield Beach would like to remind our residents, property owners and managers about proper tree care. The Deerfield Beach Landscape Division wants residents to know that there is a right and wrong way to prune trees. Now is the time to take steps to protect your home's most valuable natural assets.

What is Hatracking (Topping) & Over-Lifting and Why is it Bad?

What many refer to as “hurricane pruning” is a scam. Hurricane pruning generally refers to topping, or hat-racking a tree. Hat-racking is a practice in which the top of the tree, known as the canopy, is removed, leaving vital, major branches chopped off with stubs exposed. This type of pruning results in heavy re-growth of weakly attached sprouts and actually makes the tree more prone to wind damage than an un-pruned tree! A majority of the trees that fail during a storm are ones that have been improperly pruned. Over-lifting is another type of improper pruning where the lower half of the canopy is removed. This type of pruning makes the tree more likely to break or topple over.

Is it a violation?

Hat-racking is a violation in both the City and the County landscape codes, subject to fine and other penalties. Property owners who allow trees to be hat-racked on their property may have to remove and mitigate for the damaged trees.

Is this a problem?

Tree trimmers often take advantage of homeowners by using scare tactics, under the guise of “hurricane pruning”. They have been known to top trees and leave the homeowners with no identifying information, and unfortunately, the property owner is left with the liability of a structurally unsound tree. Be suspicious of anyone knocking on your door offering to trim your trees, especially after regular business hours and on weekends. Licensed, professional tree trimmers do not solicit customers door-to-door. If you see such activity, report it to the Broward Sheriff’s code enforcement by calling 954-480-4241. 

What license should my tree trimmer have?

Tree trimmers must have insurance, a City of Deerfield Beach occupational license, and be a Broward County Licensed Tree Trimmer. Ask for these three pieces of information before discussing your job! To verify a Broward County Licensed Tree Trimmers you may call 954-765-4400. You may also wish to hire an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist. Certified arborists can be found at:;;

What type of pruning should be done now?

We recommend removing only dead, hanging, and previously damaged branches right now, this is included in the structural pruning of a tree. A qualified arborist can do structural pruning. Proper structural pruning should be carried is only done every few years depending on the condition and age of the tree. 

Where can I find more information?

An excellent website for homeowners sponsored by the International Society of Arboriculture at there you will find links to sections such as “Tree Care Information”; “Pruning Young Trees”; “Pruning Mature Trees” and “Tree Hazards and Treatments” . For more information, contact Harold Hoyte, City Landscape Architect, at 954-480-4206 or City-specific landscape information can also be found at .