How to Help your Garden After a Hailstorm

Hail damageGardeners in my neck of the woods might be wondering what to do about their gardens after yesterday’s powerful thunderstorms dropped large amounts of hail along Colorado’s Front Range.

Reports of ping-pong sized hailstones made me cringe thinking of the damage those rockets of ice can do to a budding garden.

Despite the damage to landscapes, there’s a silver lining in those thunderclouds. Unlike an end-of-summer squall that pummels tomatoes into sauce, this storm hit early in the season, so there’s still time for trees to push new leaves, perennials to bounce back and annuals to get replanted.

Being a native Colorado gardener, I’ve learned that the secret to gardening here is to bend, not break after storm damage.

After this latest garden beat down, gardeners can take heart that plants will bounce back in just a few weeks.

Plants will rebound more quickly if you have a healthy garden. Trees, shrubs and perennials that are healthy tend to recover faster from this kind of early-season damage.

Here’s how to help your garden after a hailstorm:

  • Assess the damage.
  • Clean up all the leaf litter from trees, shrubs and plants.
  • Prune plants to get rid of bare or broken stems; clip herbs and annuals down to the last healthy set of leaves.
  • Remove broken tree branches or call a tree pro to do it for you.
  • Keep the garden watered; lightly fertilize annuals.
  • Leave trees and shrubs to recover on their own.
  • Replant. There’s still plenty of time in the season to grow beautiful flowers and plenty of produce.

In late spring last year, my garden was pummeled during a terrific thunderstorm that included scary tornado warnings. While I was taking refuge in the basement, I worried what I’d find in the garden after the storm.

The damage was just as bad as I thought, but in less than two weeks most of the plants in the garden had rebounded. It just takes a bit of time, a little water and some sunshine.


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