Mangroves are one of Florida’s true natives. They are mostly found along the waterways, provide habitats for fish and birds, and protect homes from erosion. You can recognize them, especially in the Everglades and Keys, by their dense, tangled roots that pop up out of the water.
Are there rules I need to follow when I trim mangroves?
Spring is approaching, and branches are now growing out of control. Since Florida has lost 86% of its mangroves since the 1940s, legislation has taken action to make sure the endangered tree population is protected. The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act, enacted in 1996, sets regulations on how these trees can be maintained. Here are some of the highlights:
– The mangrove must be on the land you own
– Trees cannot be trimmed lower than 6 feet in height
– Cannot remove the tree without a permit
– If the tree is more than 10 feet tall, hire a Professional Mangrove Trimmer (PMT)
– Extremely tall trees must be trimmed in stages to prevent death
What are some trimming techniques?
Mangrove trimming could be the equivalent of learning how to trim a bonsai tree but much bigger. As mentioned before, cutting down branches from the tree should be done in stages. One style of trimming is called “windowing.” Remove the lower and central branches of the mangrove allowing a view from underneath the canopy. This kind of trim allows the roots to keep the shoreline together to prevent erosion and provide privacy if you have a second-floor window.
Another technique is called “hedging” which is very similar to how you would trim a bush in your yard. Cut the top of the mangrove’s canopy so that it is aesthetically rounded off and is pleasing to the eye. It creates an easy view above the tree and keeps your coastline looking neat.
Maintaining your mangroves should not be a daunting task. If you have any questions at all regarding the treatment of one of Florida’s native plants, contact your local Florida Department of Environmental Protection. When in doubt, call a professional. A Professional Mangrove Trimmer will keep your plants healthy and out of trouble.