Posted by Green Thumb Gardener | Posted in Garden Maintenance, Green Thumb Gardening, Summer Garden | Posted on 08-08-2010
One of the most hazardous things that can happen to your plants is weather. Many a garden has been demolished overnight because of this phenomenon. And seemingly, there is nothing we can do to prevent it. Of course, if weather didn’t exist at all then we wouldn’t have those nice sunny days that are beneficial to the growth of our plants. But then again, we wouldn’t have the tragic hailstorms that tear down everything we’ve worked for so many hours to grow.
When rain starts to fall, usually the first reaction in a gardener is pure joy. After all, this means you don’t have to worry about going out and watering it manually. The natural rain fall can’t be anything but good for all your thirsty plants, can it? Well once that same gardener starts to see the gorgeous rain drops turn into small globules of ice, usually a complete emotional breakdown is in order. I know this from experience, because when I was a blooming gardener I had my garden completely demolished by about 10 minutes of severe hail.
When I first learned my lesson on the damage hail can do, I quickly devised a method of coping. I began to keep large clay pots within 10 feet of my garden, so that at any sign of hail I could run outside and have the plants sheltered in a matter of seconds. This saved me from being forced to watch my plants be ripped to pieces on multiple occasions. I’ve never dealt with hail more than an inch in diameter, but I’m guessing that if there had been any baseball sized chunks then those pots would have been quickly demolished.
However, as the number of fragile plants in my garden grew, it became slightly impractical to have a pot for each plant, and run outside to place each one before significant damage had already occurred. After much thought, I ended up building a horizontal, retractable screen mechanism made out of a strong but flexible wire mesh. At any sign of rain I could pull the screen out over my entire garden and have instant protection. Not only did it let the rain through, but the collected hail provided a steady drip of water for as much as a day afterwards. This project cost me several hundred dollars, and more blood, sweat, and tears than can be measured with earth dollars. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
If it’s too late for you, and you’ve recently lost your precious plants to those wicked balls of ice, then you’re probably looking for some way to help the plants recover. Unfortunately there aren’t many choices for you. The best thing you can do is give them the tender care they deserve, and attempt to nurse them back to health over a long period of time. The several weeks after being severely damaged by hail are vital to whether the plant survives or not. If you expect more rain or wind, you should keep the plant covered. In this brittle stage, even raindrops or a strong breeze could cause more damage.
So if you live in an area that experiences frequent hail, you should definitely have some emergency plan for protecting your plants. Sitting by and watching them be ripped to shreds should never be an option!