No, you won't be parking there! Photo by Bob Jagendorf.

Hurricane Season 2012 is officially here! One of the rotten things hurricanes do is knock down trees. One of the even rottener things is knocking down trees on your house. How can you avoid this dire fate? Take the following advice from Grumpy.

Don't Plant These Trees Near Your House The following trees grow big enough to do serious damage and are also prone to falling in high winds due to their weak wood or branching structure. (By the way, the storm doesn't have to be a hurricane. A thunderstorm or blizzard will splinter bad trees too.)

  • Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia). Widely planted in Florida. Mistake!
  • Box elder (Acer negundo). Crappy tree anywhere.
  • Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'). Breaks in half when a butterfly sneezes.
  • Elms (Ulmus sp.). Good street trees though.
  • Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis). No one plants these -- they just inherit them.
  • Hickories (Carya sp.)
  • Laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia). Plant live oak instead. It takes the wind.
  • Pecan (Carya illinoiensis). Beautiful tree, just not near the house.
  • Poplars (Populus sp.). Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) not included.
  • Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Red maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Silver maple (Acer saccharinum). You'll pay for its fast growth.
  • Water oak (Quercus nigra). Mistletoe loves it.
  • Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina). Gets huge in Florida. Makes homeowners cry.
  • White pine (Pinus strobus)
  • Willows (Salix sp.). Grumpy hates all of them.

Don't Ignore Big, Dead Trees Big, dead trees are going to fall down. The only questions are when and in what direction. If a dead tree on your property falls on someone else's house, car, or head, you could be sued. So ask yourself this: Do you feel lucky?

Don't Overlook These Danger Signs Most trees that fall or break in half aren't dead. Some are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many others, though, have hidden flaws that make them prone to fall. If you see any of the following signs, have a licensed arborist examine the tree and determine whether you should remove it.

  • A hollow trunk or cavity at the base. A solid trunk gives the tree strength. A hollow trunk is just waiting to break in two.
  • A vertical strip of sunken or absent bark on one side of the tree. This could be a sign that the tree has been struck by lightning and is slowly dying.
  • Mushrooms growing from the bark. Mushrooms grow on dead wood. Dead wood is weak wood.
  • Lots of dead branches near the top. This usually indicates a tree that's dying. It just hasn't officially kicked the bucket yet.