Trees are a large part of any landscape and should be selected carefully. Shade trees should have moderate to dense foliage and should not have large or objectionable fruits, flowers, or seeds. They should have the ability to withstand high winds and be relatively free from insects and disease pests, and of a size suitable for the location. We have all seen the large oaks planted under utility lines and then severely pruned. You may want to use both deciduous and evergreen trees in your landscape. Some deciduous shade trees for our area are red maple, pecan, sweet gum, sycamore, water oak and elm. Evergreen trees include live oak, pine, magnolia and red cedar.
For more information on selecting trees, visit "Selecting Quality Trees" on the Internet at: edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP31300.pdf. You may also want to read "Wind and Trees: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes" on the Internet at: edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FR/FR17300.pdf.
An insect called twig girdler is seldom seen but is often very damaging to young trees. The female lays her eggs in the twigs of maple, oak, pine and pecan trees. She then chews around the twig so it will drop to the ground, where the life cycle will be completed. The damage occurs when leaders of small trees are girdled. This changes the tree's structure and may result in a weakened tree. Larger trees are generally not damaged to any extent from the twig girdlers "pruning". The only control measure is to clean up the fallen twigs and destroy them. This eliminates the next generation.
Source: Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. Learn more at askextension.org or pinellascountyextension.org.