Hail storms are a gardener’s worst nightmare and they are quite common across the United States. Real problems arise when a severe hail storm occurs. Your gardens will look like a war zone and plant care after a severe hail storm is important. After recently been hit with a severe hail storm, I wanted to share some information with you on plant care after a severe hail storm.
There are several key factors to consider with plant care after a severe hail storm. First, what time of year is it? If it’s spring or early summer, then chances are your plants will recover and grow back nicely. If it’s late summer or early autumn, then the growth period is ending and your plants will probably not recover for the season.
Don’t Despair and Don’t Dig Up Plants!
First and foremost, don’t dig up the plants! Even though stems, branches, and leaves may be stripped from your plants, they are still alive as the roots have not been touched. I know they look really bad, but chances are they will come back. In many ways, plant care after a severe hail storm will be the same as after you’ve had surgery. Rest and taking lots of vitamins will help you gain your strength back. Likewise, plant care after a severe hail storm includes those same things. Let them rest and give them nourishment.
There can be exceptions if you have new plants or struggling plants. For either of these two conditions, plant care after a severe hair storm could mean removing the plant. I always give my plants the benefit of the doubt and work really hard to nourish them back to health. Monitor them closely and if after a month there’s no sign of life, then remove the plant.
Evaluating Plants After a Severe Hail Storm
The first thing you should do is walk your gardens and evaluate the damage done by the storm. Remove any broken branches, stems, or leaves from plants, trees, and shrubs. If you have trees and you need to cut branches, use one of the tree repair kits or pruning seals that your local hardware store will have. This will seal the tree or shrub and keep unwanted bugs out.
If you have vegetable plants, some of the vegetables may look like a pock-marked golf ball. These vegetables will continue to grow so don’t remove them. Any that are split from the hail can be used or thrown away.
Deadhead your flowers and remove broken stems and leaves for the best plant care after a severe hail storm.
Give Your Plants More Attention
Plant care after a severe hail storm means that you’ll need to give your plants more attention by watering and feeding them. Your plants have just gone through a traumatic experience and the shock may last days or weeks. Nurture them by watering them more and definitely feed your plants, trees, and shrubs within a few days after the storm. Feed them again a month later to give them strength.
Plant care after a severe hail storm is almost like having all new plants in the yard. They need to be watered more frequently and I don’t mean once a week. They’ve been weakened and need to be watered at least every other day for a few weeks. If you’re having really hot weather, water them daily to help them gain strength and begin to grow again.
Late Season Severe Hail Storms
If it’s August or September when a severe hail storm hits, your vegetable plants will probably not recover enough to produce fruit. It’s unfortunate, but these plants can be dug up for the season. You can check with your local nursery to see if they have any plants left, however, chances are everything will be sold. Your best bet might be to replenish the soil and get it ready for winter.
Flowers, trees, and shrubs will continue to grow, however, most will focus on growing its roots instead of its stalks. That’s how they heal and usually next spring your plants will come back just as nice as before, sometimes better due to its extended root-growth season. This has happened several times with my plants and I’m always amazed at how plants take care of themselves.
What you must keep in mind is that all is not lost after a severe hail storm. Yes, it’s definitely disastrous and somewhat depressing, however, think of plant care after a severe hail storm as monitoring and nurturing your beautiful plants and most likely they will return the favor and come back just as beautiful as ever.
Sources: Personal Experience