Thursday, June 9, 2011

The day after: First aid for damaged plants, gardens following Wednesday's storm

Last night we had three strong hail storms move through Fort Collins, and Tim and I spent hours putting tarps over our garden to protect them.  Minutes before the first wave, Weather Underground showed potential hail of 2.5".  Fortunately, we only reached about 3/8" in size in our garden, but the amount of rain that fell was almost equally damaging - over 3" for us, and near 8" in a town just 10 miles north.

Below is an article from the Coloradoan about how to recover from this kind of storm.

Our garden suffered only damage to one blueberry bush - and that was due to the weight of the tarp above breaking two main branches.  It's quite sad, but relative to the damage that could have occurred, we are pleased with our efforts.

When assessing hail damage to plants and landscaping, Colorado State University Extension, offers this information:

Hail damage is an ongoing concern for Colorado gardeners. Successful first aid for a hail-damaged garden depends on the type of crop, plant maturity and recovery time left in the season.
Early in the season, vegetable root crops with destroyed leaves are only good for the compost pile. Allow leafy crops at least a week to recuperate after a hailstorm, then replant if you see no signs of regrowth.
Late in the season, root crops may be mature enough to survive and be harvested. Remove damaged parts of leafy crops and hope for some recuperation and continued growth. Replace plants lost to hail with fall cold crops.
Flowering annuals with no leaves may not recover. Plants, such as petunias, that normally require dead-heading, may survive if some leaves remain on the plant after a hailstorm. Clean-up and a light application of fertilizer may help them recover.
Herbaceous perennials stripped of leaves need to have good root and top growth for winter hardiness and spring vigor. To achieve this, remove all flower stalks, cut back to viable leaves, lightly cultivate the soil, and apply a light dressing of low-nitrogen fertilizer.
Remove flower stalks, because they use energy that plants need to overwinter and grow vigorously the following season. Allow biennials with buds, such as foxglove, to bloom, and enjoy them, because they won't return next year.
Inspect woody plants for bark wounds and exposed live tissue. If severe wounds exist, you may want to treat the plant with a fungicide to help prevent canker diseases.
Application should occur within 24 hours. If wounds are less severe, allow natural callusing to occur.

No comments:

Post a Comment