Nursing Hail-Damaged Plants Back to Health

No landscaping project is complete without plants, whether those are flowers, trees, shrubs, or a combination of the three. Unfortunately, here in Minnesota, we’re no strangers to strong summer storms—and the damage to our greenery that can result. We haven’t been walloped yet this season (knock on wood), but preparation is key. How can you prepare for these storms to mitigate the damage, and how can you help your plants thrive afterward?

Preparation for a Hail Storm

Minneapolis gets, on average, 10 hailstorms per year. With those odds, it’s best to be prepared.

  • Keep empty buckets, pots, or trashcans in an accessible spot, so you can quickly turn them over any delicate plants.
  • Make a canopy out of a tarp and stakes to place over gardens (this is perhaps most applicable with vegetable gardens, where you’re trying to save a harvest).
  • Blankets can be helpful to shield lower tree canopies and save fruit harvests.
  • If you’re looking for long-term infrastructure to help keep your plants safe from hail, use a wall or fence to shelter trees and shrubs. Flowering plants can be sheltered underneath early-leafing trees.

 

One example of a hail-tarp. (Photo from Jody’s Re-Creations)

After the Hail Storm

Maybe you weren’t able to get out ahead of the storm, and now your poor hostas and tomato plants have holey leaves. There’s no real fix for this sort of damage, but you can help your plants bounce back.

  • If the damage occurs in spring or early summer, apply a light application of plant fertilizer to help plants regrow foliage.
  • Trim damaged leaves and stems from annuals and perennials.
  • On trees and shrubs, remove broken branches cleanly. Also remove branches that have been gouged and torn.
  • If annuals have been stripped of leaves, they may need to be replanted. If no new growth shows up within a week, they likely won’t recover.

 

Hail-damaged hostas.

  • Take care to water damaged plants during the growing season.
  • If the storm hits in late summer or early fall, place extra mulch around damaged perennials and trees to help protect them through the winter.
  • Consider replacing damaged plants with ones native to Minnesota. These will be acclimatized to our weather and more likely to get through a bad storm with minimal damage.

 

We can’t control the weather, but we can control how we prepare for and respond to severe weather events. By covering delicate plants before storms and taking steps to lessen damage after, you can preserve your flowers, trees, and shrubs for another season. And if you’re looking to change up your landscaping to better guard against storms, we here at KG Landscape are happy to help. Give us a call at 763-568-7251 or use our quick quote system to get in touch.