Hail damaged your plants? What you can do in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko

garden before and after hail in Amherst NY
The top photo shows how the hail shredded the canna lilies in the back and blasted petals off the pink annuals in front. The bottom photo shows how the Snyder garden looked before the hail storm. Photo courtesy John and Leigh Murak
hand holding hail in Snyder NY
Pea-sized hail fell in the Snyder part of Amherst as well as other parts of Western New York on July 2. (No, the hail wasn’t sharp; the red on the fingertip is a petal ripped from a flower.) Photo courtesy John and Leigh Murak

by Connie Oswald Stofko

A narrow band of weather dropped hail– some of it as large as peas– in Western New York on Friday. A localized hail storm a few weeks ago damaged plants in some gardens in Niagara County, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County.

Hail can shred the leaves of your plants and bruise the stems. Will your plants survive?

It depends on how badly damaged they were. If all the leaves are torn off, that’s severe damage, he said. If the leaves just have holes in them, you stand a decent chance that they will recover.

“You should know within a week to ten days,” Farfaglia said.

Here’s what you can do in the meantime to help your plants.

Perennials

The flowers on your perennial plants may be shredded, but the plant will probably be fine and come back next year, Farfaglia said.

You can trim off damaged parts. That’s all you need to do.

Annuals

These flowering plants may not have the capacity to come back this season, he said.

If you trim off the worst of the damage and fertilize the plant, it may come back.

(If you need to replace your annuals, check the Events page. Some garden centers have sales on annuals now.)

Vegetables

For vegetables such as tomatoes, you will probably still get some fruit. However the fruit may be scarred or misshapened, he said.

You should trim off the damaged parts and fertilize lightly, he said. Normally you wouldn’t fertilize tomatoes once they have fruit (it will encourage leaf growth rather than fruit development), but giving them just a little bit of nitrogen may help.

Farfaglia suggested:

  • A soluable plant fertilizer, diluted. It can be even half strength.
  • A dry vegetable fertilizer (10-10-10). You can use just a small amount.
  • An organic fertilizer such as Plant-tone (5-3-3).

Did you have damage to your garden from hail? Please leave a comment below.

2 Comments on “Hail damaged your plants? What you can do in Western New York

  1. Thank you for the tips for treating hail damage. All of my plants and vegetables suffered damage from the storm.

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