A few nights ago, we had a very strong storm on our farm. We only knew this because our piggy bank started running around the barn as the wind got stronger. The sight was quite a sight to behold!
However, it was nothing compared to the storm that was to come. We had wind gusts near 60 mph and the heavy rain made it look like a train had landed at home. I must say, I was very grateful for the shelter of my home!
However, I was concerned about how a thunderstorm would affect my plants. You don’t necessarily have to worry about thunder and lightning with these types of storms. Instead, it is heavy rain and strong winds.
Fortunately, this particular storm did little damage to my plants. I have had other storms in which I was not as lucky, however, which is why I had to write this article.
There are many ways you can protect your plants from thunderstorms—and help them recover if you’re not so lucky.
- 1 How do thunderstorms damage plants?
- 2 how to protect plants from thunder
- 3 Wind and thunder damage treatment in the garden
- 4 Prepare for Heavy Storms Ahead of Time
How do thunderstorms damage plants?
There is nothing worse than seeing a heavy storm in your garden. You’ve worked so hard to plant, care for, and harvest from your garden – only to see it burst.
Although there are some steps you can take to protect your plants from thunderstorms and prevent damage, unfortunately, sometimes the damage cannot be prevented.
Believe it or not, there are some ways in which thunderstorms occur Good for your plants. Lightning restores nitrogen to the soil and can help fertilize it – which is why your plants look so green after a storm!
However, strong winds from a heavy storm can also have a drying effect, drying out your plants and making them brittle. Worse, high winds can also rip off leaves and pull roots out of the ground, effectively killing your plants.
how to protect plants from thunder
The best way to protect your plants is to bring them inside when a storm gets in the way. Of course, this is only possible with containers and hanging baskets. Otherwise, these tips will help you prevent damage to your in-ground plants.
1. Cover Them
To protect your vegetable garden from wind damage, its line is to the rescue. You may not have a lot of time to cover your plants in the form of a hurricane, so target smaller, more sensitive plants first. Those that are mature probably already have strong roots and have a better chance of brushing off any potential damage.
If you don’t have a row cover, you can improvise with a 5-gallon bucket or similar container. Just make sure you weigh these containers down and remove them as soon as the risk of storm damage has passed.
2. Install Fences or Shrubs
Planting some tall shrubs or hedges or even a high fence can be helpful if you get very strong winds. Both can serve as a wind barrier that will help protect your plants from damage, especially if you live in the middle of an open expanse.
If you have trees that are young or particularly sensitive, you may need to stake them. It will support them when the storm hits. Just make sure you tie them somewhat loosely so they can move a bit in the wind – otherwise, they’ll break.
3. Wrap in Burlap
Some plants may benefit from burlap cover. This is usually the case with shrubs, small trees and perennials that may split down the middle or flatten under heavy rain and wind.
4. Protect the Roots
Protecting plant roots is essential at all times of the year, but especially when storms are coming. Make sure your plants are well mulched to prevent wind blowing.
One of the best things you can do to prevent damage from thunderstorms and other weather events is to be really good about your pruning and general maintenance. Removing dead growth can prevent storm damage because weak branches and limbs are not being torn off in strong winds. By keeping plants compact and healthy, they are less likely to break and fly around.
This is especially true for trees that have large branches that can cause serious damage to your home, lawn or garden.
Wind and thunder damage treatment in the garden
Once the storm hits, here are some things you can do to move forward.
1. Assess the Trees First
You should take the time to assess the condition of all your plants. However, trees should take priority.
This is because they pose the greatest risk to you if they are left unattended and are in poor condition. Falling limbs can cause damage to your home, garden or other parts of your property.
Take stock of the condition of all your plants. If a plant is cut in half, it may not survive. However, if your plants are in one piece but looking a little wilted, don’t panic. Be patient and give them time to recover. Most perennials will make a comeback.
2. Slow Sorting
If you’ve waited a few weeks after severe storm damage on your plants—and they’re still looking worse for wear—go ahead and prune. You should only prune when no new growth is visible – if it is, your plants are probably doing fine.
Cut the stems back at the base. This will give them the best chance of reviving. You can also do annual pruning to get rid of dead plant material that is wasting the energy of your recovering plants.
Make sure you get your plants back into the ground after a heavy storm. Most plants, especially perennial shrubs that already have stems, will be fine if you repot them. You can also re-mulch to partially cover the exposed roots – or add a bit of top soil to cover them back.
4. Take Care of Rotten Roots
The biggest threat to plants from heavy rains is rotting roots. This is especially true if you have soil that drains poorly.
Over time, if you let your plants sit in water, fungi are bound to develop in them. This can cause root rot. You can use a fungicide to treat waterlogged plants, but in most cases, the easy solution is to improve drainage.
5. Wash off the salt
If you’re like me and live inland, it’s nothing to worry about. However, if you live on the coast and have just encountered a major storm, there is a good chance that your plants are covered with salt spray. It can be carried by wind, even if you don’t live on the coast. Wash all your plants with fresh water to remove residue, which can dry out and kill your plants.
6. Compost the Leftovers
Inevitably there will be plants that cannot be saved. If so, cut your losses and fertilize them. Anything green can go into the bin, helping to restore nutrients and moisture to the soil.
Prepare for Heavy Storms Ahead of Time
When you get a weather alert on your phone that a heavy storm is approaching, you often won’t have time to prepare for the onslaught of wind, rain, and sometimes hail. You may find yourself scrambling to get your plants ready and often, last minute efforts just aren’t enough.
Unfortunately, not all plans in the world are ever prepared for a storm that rolls in quickly and causes a lot of damage. However, by taking the steps above ahead of time (and having material available to cover the plants quickly if you are able), you can minimize some of the damage.
The good news is that storms like these are rare for most people. Take comfort knowing that you are ready for anything!
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