Hail No! Plant Damage Discourse.April 10, 2015
I anticipate many clients getting in touch to ask what’s causing weird plant damage this spring. We haven’t experienced a strange invasion of locusts. Rather, it’s March going out like a lion that’s done the most damage already this season – at least in our neck of the woods.
So, if your plants are looking anything like these images, odds are the damage is mechanical. And, no the culprit probably isn’t an insect, deer, bunny or ground-dwelling rodent.
And, while many insects can cause damage that shows up looking similar to some of this hail destruction, these plants haven’t been hit by any number of insects like aphids, weevils and spittle bugs that emerge to do damage soon.
If you’re in the Seattle area, your garden demolition may have been caused by the same 45 minute hailstorm that shredded and poxed our tender spring plants just a few days ago.
Most plants will survive the onslaught of frozen pellets, but they just won’t look as lovely this season as in years when March goes out like a lamb.
Purchases through the following affiliate links pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors. Thank you!
Destruction like this is a good reminder that every gardening year is different. We live in an imperfect world as these images so quickly illustrate.
In years past, we’ve watched the entire south side of a leafing out tree get shredded by hail and wind. As the season progressed, that side of the tree continued to look ratty – those leaves just don’t ever recover. But the tree itself does, and it looks great when it leafs out the following spring (assuming no new hail and wind tear it to bits again.)
At least with early ephemerals like these species tulips, they will soon be overwhelmed by other, later season plants that fill in our garden beds for the growing season ahead. These damaged little leaves just won’t stand out for long.
Rumex is one plant we can cut hard to the ground following an early spring shredding, and it should send up another round of fresh foliage for the current season. Learn more about growing edible Rumex and how to care for it.
Notice in these damage images that nothing is bitten away. That’s a key to understanding that nothing was actually eating the plants. What’s ripped remains in place — at least until it dries up and falls away leaving plants looking tattered for the spring and summer months ahead.