PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – Summer means storms and for gardeners the rain may be welcomed, but too much of it along with gusty winds and hail are not ideal for plants.
The first step is an obvious one: bring your potted plants inside. If you have any plants that are pot-bound it is important to bring them inside to prevent them from tipping over in extreme winds. If you are unable to store them safely inside or if you have pets that might interfere with them, place them somewhere that is blocked from the wind and ideally covered overhead.
Plants that are in hanging baskets should be removed and placed either inside as well or on the ground, ideally in a sheltered location.
For the plants that are in the ground, there are still ways to protect them.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, in order to protect plants from the wind, tall plants should be staked to prevent breaking and large containers or buckets that are weighted down should be placed on top of smaller plants. Larger plants like bushes should be wrapped in a material like twine.
A barrier can be made as well around groups of plants using any type of heavy material like rocks or bags of soil.
For heavy rain, the Farmer’s Almanac suggests using hoop tunnels over rows of plants, using row cover fabrics over seedlings and placing stakes on tall plants to keep them from breaking. If flooding is a possibility, adding gypsum to the soil around plants can help drainage. After a heavy downpour, some plants will need their leaves cleaned from mud and debris to ensure photosynthesis can take place.
If there is hail in the forecast, the Farmer’s Almanac suggests using buckets weighed down with rocks to cover plants along with hoop tunnels. They suggest making a tent from whatever strong material you can such as fabric or burlap over rows of plants for protection.
The good news is that outdoor plants are resilient, especially native plants because they are adjusted to the environment. However, if these precautions are taken plant damage can potentially be minimized.