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Hail No! Plant Damage Discourse

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Wondering What’s Causing Your Plant Damage?

Sometimes weird plant damage happens in our gardens. And when that happens photos of plant damage can help.  That’s because what caused your plant damage may not be immediately obvious.

We might be suspicious of a disease. Or, it could be a pest insect or a rodent. But odds are you aren’t going through an invasion of locusts. In fact, often the problem is actually not caused by a creature at all.

Aeonium hail plant damage

Thick, fleshy leaves of tender Aeonium look like they suffered a case of the Pox from hail.

Could the Problem be Mechanical Plant Damage?

If your plants look anything like the Aeonium above, it could be a mechanical plant damage issue. And no, that’s not a pox on your plant. Moreover, the culprit probably isn’t an insect, deer, bunny or ground-dwelling rodent. But when issues like these come up for plants like the Aeonium above or the fritillary flowers below, your plant may be in for a rough looking season.

Crown fritillary photo

Hail damaged crown frittilary. The flowers should still open. But it only flowers once a year, so this is it for this spring.

Or Was Your Plant Hammered by Hail?

Many insects can cause damage that shows up looking similar to some of this hail destruction. But there are some tell-tale signs to look for. If your plant just went through a hail storm in the last few hours or days, the issue will show up pretty quick. And that tells you hail was probably the culprit.

Photos of Plant Damage from Hail…

Cardiocrinium plant damage from hail

Giant Cardiocrinium lily leaves took a hammering from hail & have the scars to show for it.

Plus, hail damage tends to appear all over the surface of the plant. And it often looks like peck marks. That’s because of the hammering hail throws down. Unfortunately, hail can also tear leaves so they look shredded. And if the hail is really heavy or big, it can end up crushing an entire plant. Many plants will survive, but they just won’t look very good.

damaged peonies

Tender peony foliage is ripped to shreds from thundering hail storm.

Pest Lookalike Plant Damage from Hail…

Now, a bunny might tear your plant leaves. But they don’t shred everything and leave it behind the way that hail does. And deer will also do tearing damage, but they eat what they tear. But hail will tear and leave the shredded plant behind.

Chewing insects also take something away as they eat. But there are some pests that mimic hail plant damage as they eat. For instance, notice the leaf image below.

Plant stippled from hail

Many spring bulb leaves look stippled from the hail. While similar looking to damage from sucking insects, this is damage is from ice pellets.

This looks a bit like stippling. And that’s a kind of damage left behind by insects that suck the juices out of plant leaves to damage them. Aphids are a good example of an insect that harms plants this way. Plus when they do this damage they can also end up inserting disease into the plant as they suck. (And that really sucks for you and your garden!)

But, think about it before you assume there’s a pest insect damaging your plants. If your plants were looking great just before that hail storm that passed through. And then after the storm they look stippled, well odds are the problem isn’t an insect. It’s just that darn hail!

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3 comments on “Hail No! Plant Damage Discourse

  1. Garden Mentors on

    Diane, thanks for asking. If the leaves are heavily damaged, you could try cutting them off. This early in the season, there is a chance the plant will generate new leaves from the roots. When you remove damaged material, the plant can stop wasting energy on it and throw its power into new things. But, a plant’s ability to do so can vary by plant and by season.

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