Tips from PPUG on saving hail-damaged plants



If you have yet to take action in your garden following the hailstorms, Larry Stebbins from Pikes Peak Urban Gardensoffers the following tips for trying to save hail-damaged plants:

Pick damaged fruit (even if immature) from your fruit trees and discard them to your compost pile.

Trim back your annual flowers (if there is anything left) and fertilize lightly with diluted fish emulsion and seaweed extract.

Veggies can usually recuperate faster than some things in your garden so you may wish to wait a few days to see if they will spring back.

If the veggie plant is stripped of its leaves it is still early enough in the season to replant. Squash, cucumbers and beans should be replanted now. Tomato and pepper plants take a long time to recover so don't wait too long before deciding if it worth keeping them.

Leafy crops like spinach and lettuce might come back if the damaged outer leaves are removed. In one week if the plant is not looking like it will recover to your expectations then replant.

If your garlic is stripped of most of its leaves you have two choices: pick now and eat as a green garlic (still yummy but will not store) or lightly fertilize and hope they grow until harvest come early to mid July.

Onions will come back, so be patient. Trim off the severely shredded leaves but keep as many on the plant as you can.

If some of your shrubs were damaged you should carefully remove the minimum number of leaves and branches to make the plant look acceptable. It should grow back.

Another tip is to stake up some of your recovering plants and where possible put a one to two inch dried grass mulch around the base of the plant. Lettuce will respond nicely to this extra support and care.

Plants whose leaves have been knocked into the soil by the hail can be allowed to dry out a day or two then gently lift the leaves from the soil so it can begin to regrow.


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