09 Jun Hail Damage: Protect Your Plants
Hail is a natural phenomenon here in Montana. Every year or so it seems the Billings area is struck with a rough weather event that leaves absolute destruction in its wake. Even small hail, stones barely the size of a pea, can easily damage and ruin a garden or a potted plant (on a large-scale, hail destroys entire fields of crops every year). Oftentimes these storms happen in the late spring, and the plants are still developing. Developing plants are typically smaller and manageable and are more easily protected when a rough weather event is forecasted. Here’s how.
Usually professional greenhouses have tunnels which protect the plants from inclement weather. You can purchase this same type of fabric, even purchase the pre-made structures that support it, but just as easily you can use a ground tarp, screen, sheet, or blanket to cover the plants. If you have some type of structure holding up the covering (it can be as simple as a few backyard trashcans) it should keep out the hailstones. Use something to anchor the blanket, sheet, etc., to the ground. If you have pavestones or bricks in your landscaping, use them to hold down the shelter, then put them back in place when all is clear. The trashcans could do double duty and cover a potted plant or flower to keep it well-protected. If your plants are potted or are grown along a fence line, then you could use a sheet of plywood to act as a lean-to.
If your plants do get hit by hail, then salvage what parts of the plant you can. Clean up the damaged/trampled plants so that they don’t spread disease to the others. Trim away any dead foliage and prune away the damaged stems and branches.
And if you have a weather event compact the soil in your garden, then add a fresh layer of mulch. The plants/garden will be in need of nutrition. And for all of you garden/yard needs, make sure to call the soil and mulch experts at Rocky Mountain Compost.