Save the Pines!

Trees most likely to withstand hurricanes & high winds…

People often cut down tall pines – which are the predominant tree in the Jackson Heights neighborhood – thinking that pines are more likely to fall and damage their homes during storms.  This is not a belief based in fact.

The diagrams below illustrate how trees with shallow root systems (oaks, beech, etc.) are more vulnerable to tipping in high winds, than those with deep root systems (such as tall Southern pines).

Shallow Root Systems = more vulnerability to tipping

Oaks, beech and other trees of this variety have shallow root systems.


This is an uprooted beech tree:


Uprooted oak:

uprooted oak tree

Uprooted oak in Jackson Heights (July 2019):

uprooted oak in JH (July 2019)


The shallow root system of these types of trees make them especially vulnerable to being uprooted in high winds and wet soil conditions.


Deep root systems means trees bend more than they break

This is the deep root system of a young pine sapling.  The roots are longer than the height of the tree itself.


The roots of mature Southern pines can run 10 to 15 feet deep underground.

These are the taproots of some pines in New Zealand:

Photo by Murray Fraser
Senior Consultant/Director
Sydney Environmental & Soil Laboratory
Sydney, Australia
Photo taken in New Zealand

This is an example of a pine in Jackson Heights that was bent during a hurricane in 2004.  (See the pine in the background.)  It has been through several hurricanes since, but remains standing to the present day.


bent pine in Back 40 (2013)