Will your hostas & other plants recover from hail damage in WNY?

hail damage on hostas
Photo courtesy Jeff Wilson-Martinez

by Connie Oswald Stofko

I was one of the gardeners who experienced hail last week– it was the size of fat M&Ms!

That wasn’t the only setback weather brought to Western New York gardeners in the past few weeks.

“Some of us got hit with a five-day period of frost and freeze in mid-May,” said Kathy Guest Shadrack, board member and communication liaison with the Western New York Hosta Society. “Sadly, this came after a long period of abnormally warm weather, so some hostas were up and got nailed pretty good.

“I’m happy to say that the ‘uglies’ are already starting to look better. Just wait till next year!”

But then came the hail last week.

What to do about hostas

“The hostas that were able to grow despite the frost got shredded by that amazing storm,” Shadrack said. 

“But hostas have a second period of growth (new leaves and so on) in about a month, so although they may not get gorgeous, they’ll still be able to photosynthesize and build vigor for next year. 

“We recommend leaving anything green—even the shredded leaves—to continue to do just that. As a leaf turns yellow, you can remove it because that one is done.”

Other plants damaged by hail

Unfortunately, young seedling veggies and annuals usually suffer the most damage from hail, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County.

The outlook is better for perennials.

“Perennials will probably bounce back fairly well,” Farfaglia said. “Same with trees and shrubs.

“There will be some tattered leaves, but new foliage that develops should be okay.”

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