Oh, Hail No!
September 12th, 2019
Living in northern Colorado, you’re no stranger to hailstorms. These storms tend to pop up fast and furious and may leave damage behind. Hail is created under very specific conditions within a storm cloud. Warm air rising carries water droplets into the cold cloud, causing it to freeze and gather layers upon layers of ice. When the ice chunks get too heavy, they will fall. Hail often melts on its way down to earth, but it is more common in northern Colorado because of the high elevation. At around 5,000 feet high, there is less time for the hail to melt on its way down. This results in negative effects causing damage to roofs, cars, and even those hardy plants!
Unfortunately, the hail season is not quite over yet! It is hard to prepare your outdoor plants for hail because it often hits unexpectedly. So how do you make sure that your plants can recover from a hard hit?
Clean Up: During a hailstorm, some of your plants will become damaged. The hail can break stems, branches, and rip off leaves. These can all cause disease, so first remove all debris. Then, prune the damaged stems. Insects are more likely to prey on weakened plants, and a clean break will allow the plant to recover easier.
Fertilize: Your plants went through a lot, so they may need a little extra nutrition to help them make a quick recovery! After clearing away debris, give your plants a low-nitrogen fertilizer for that extra boost.
Be Patient: It may take a little time, but most of your plants are likely to recover, especially native species. With a little fertilizer and water, they will bounce back. Luckily, the most significant of damage occurs in the spring because the plants are smaller and have new growth. Now that it’s approaching the end of hail season, your plants will be much hardier and able to withstand the damage a little easier.
Prevention: If there is hail in the forecast, there are a few measures of precaution you can take. Cover your plants to protect them from the weather. Sometimes buckets can be placed over individual plants, or lean boards or tarps against fences and walls to act as a shield.
If you’ve struggled with hail in your garden, you’re not alone! It’s one of the prices we pay for living on the Front Range. If you’d like more tips on how to help your garden recover after a hailstorm, chat with one of our employees at Fossil Creek Nursery today! We’d love to share our knowledge and experience with you. Visit us today at 7029 S College Ave in Fort Collins.