Before the storm

<p>A bucket held in place with a brick over a small blooming phlox plant is a simple but effective method of protecting delicate flowers during summer storms.</p>

Jessica Damiano via AP

A bucket held in place with a brick over a small blooming phlox plant is a simple but effective method of protecting delicate flowers during summer storms.

When storms are predicted, close patio umbrellas and store garden furniture indoors, if possible. Examine trees for cracked or broken branches and remove them before they’re torn by strong winds and sent flying. If those trees are large, hire a certified arborist to inspect them; the cost is nothing compared to the damage they could cause if they were to break or topple.

In warmer climes, palm trees are well-adapted to high-wind conditions, so there’s no need to prune them, but remove coconuts and store them safely indoors.

If your soil is moist — either naturally or from recent rain — apply 3 inches of mulch over beds and borders. That will offer protection against the soaking effects of a deluge, which could uproot trees, especially shallow-rooted ones like white pine, birch, willow and tulip poplar, among others.

Stake any newly planted trees to support them, and bring hanging baskets and planters into the home, shed or garage. If that’s not possible, line them up against the house or another protected spot.

Protect the flowers of small blooming plants by covering them with buckets or cloches topped with something heavy, like a brick, to hold them in place. Wrap larger plants with burlap secured with twine. Orchids, bromeliads, succulents, air plants and other tree-dwelling plants can be tied into place with fishing line.

Check that all vining plants are secured to their supports, and that the supports are firmly staked into the ground. If they don’t feel secure, remove the supports and lay them – and the plants – on the ground until the threat passes.

Lay row cover fabric over tender, young seedlings and pin it into place with landscape pegs.