Prepare Your Yard Now for Hurricane Season
Even though hurricane season is months away, preparing now can help minimize property damage and make our communities safer. The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County (SWA) strongly encourages residents to implement a year-round yard maintenance program.
Major storms can leave behind incredible amounts of debris. For example, after Hurricane Irma, almost 3 million cubic yards of vegetative debris was collected. It took three months and cost more than $39 million to collect and dispose of it all. You can help minimize the potential for vegetative debris by starting your hurricane trimming now. The SWA contract for unincorporated Palm Beach County residents allows them to place a maximum of 6 cubic yards of yard waste at the curb each week for pick-up. (Check out our short video for an example of what six cubic yards looks like.) Starting now allows for plenty of time for yard waste to be safely removed so you aren’t stuck with it in the event of a storm. Hurricane season starts June 1, and once a storm threatens, it’s too late to trim trees.
Here are some tips to ensure your yard is as prepared as possible:
- Cut back all trees and weak branches that could come in contact with buildings.
- Have foliage thinned so wind can flow freely through branches, decreasing the chance that trees or plants will be uprooted.
- Contain small pieces of vegetation, such as pine needles, leaves and twigs, in bags or cans that weigh less than 50 lbs. when full and place at the curb on your scheduled pick-up day.
- Clean your yard of any items that could pose a danger to you or your neighbor’s property in hurricane-force winds, such as old lumber, broken lawn furniture, etc. Unincorporated Palm Beach County residents can place these types of items (three per week) curbside on their bulk waste collection day (if you’re not sure what day that is, you can find it by entering your address on the My Pick-Up Days page). Please note that lumber must be placed in a container weighing no more than 50 lbs., and fence materials will not be collected in unincorporated Palm Beach County.
- Place yard waste from routine maintenance at the curb on your regularly scheduled collection day. Residents in unincorporated Palm Beach County may place a maximum of 6 cubic yards – equivalent to 3 standard size refrigerators – at the curb each week. (Vegetation cannot exceed 6 in. in diameter, 6 ft. in length or 50 lbs. in weight.)
NOTE: Unincorporated Palm Beach County residents who place more than the permitted 6 cubic yards of yard waste at the curb will have no portion of the waste removed. The pile will be tagged, and the resident will be responsible for removing all of the material at their own cost.
Residents living within city, village or town limits should contact their local municipality for their collection guidelines. Check the SWA website for municipal contact information. Whether you maintain your yard yourself or you use a lawn care or landscape service, if you produce significant yard waste, consider requesting a price to remove the yard waste if it exceeds the 6 cubic yard limit. Excess debris from major cutting or tree removal will need to be properly transported and disposed of, and there is a fee for disposal. The SWA offers hurricane information to help residents understand best practices for preparedness and what the SWA prioritizes after a storm passes. For additional information on debris collection in unincorporated parts of the county, contact SWA Customer Information Services at 561-697-2700 or 866-792-4636 (toll-free), or visit SWA.org/Hurricane. Additional Hurricane-Related Resources from Palm Beach County: