Friday, December 09, 2022

Protecting your garden before and after severe storms

As we celebrate the blooming roses, ripening tomatoes, and pollination frenzy in our backyards, we gardeners also need to be aware of heat damage: thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an “above normal 2022 Atlantic hurricane season,” and even as tornado season approaches, some danger remains year-round in parts of the country. Is.

So what should the gardener do? After making sure that people, homes and other structures are safe, our thoughts naturally turn to our beds and borders. We put our blood, sweat, tears and money into them, so protecting our investment – and the joy it brings – matters.

before the storm

When storms are predicted, close patio umbrellas and, if possible, keep garden furniture indoors. Check trees for cracked or broken branches and remove them before they are torn and blown away by strong winds. If those trees are large, hire a certified arborist to inspect them; The cost is nothing compared to the damage caused by them if they break or fall.

In warm climates, palm trees are well adapted to high wind conditions, so there is no need to cut them down, but remove the coconuts and store them safely indoors.

If your soil is moist — either naturally or from recent rains — apply 3 inches of mulch to beds and borders. This will provide protection from the dampening effects of a deluge, which can uproot trees, especially shallow-rooted ones such as white cedar, birch, willow and tulip poplar, among others.

Bring any newly planted trees to support them, and hanging baskets and planters in the home, shed, or garage. If that’s not possible, line them up in front of the house or another protected spot.

Protect the flowers of small blooming plants by covering them with buckets or cloches with something heavy, like a brick, to hold them in place. Wrap larger plants with twine-secured burlap. Orchids, bromeliads, succulents, air plants and other plants can be tied in place with fishing line.

Check that all vine plants are secure to their supports, and that the supports are firmly anchored in the ground. If they don’t feel secure, remove the supports and keep them — and the plants — on the ground until the danger has passed.

Lay row cover fabric over the tender, young seedlings and pin it with landscape pegs.

after a cyclone

Once the storm has passed, remove fallen fruits and vegetables, which can attract rodents when they rot on the ground, and remove protection from surrounding plants.

Inspect trees for damage. If you can safely remove hanging, broken branches while standing on the ground, do so. But avoid climbing a ladder to cut or prune anything higher than your head. Those jobs are best left to a professional—and that doesn’t mean a guy who shows up at your door with a chainsaw who isn’t likely to know what he’s doing and a Could be scammer.

The International Society of Arborists maintains a list of certified arborists on its website, Start your search there.

If a small tree has been felled or uprooted, straighten and stake it as soon as possible, tamping the soil firmly as you replant it. Put stakes in the ground around the trunk, attach twine, rope or rope to the stakes and tie them to the tree. Add 3 inches of mulch or straw over the soil, keeping it 3 to 4 inches away from the trunks, and water the tree regularly for the rest of the growing season. This will help to reinstall the root system.

Wind swaying helps trees develop strong trunks and roots, so don’t keep the tree for longer than six months to a year.

Salt spray can dry out, or dehydrate, trees and shrubs near shores, and they may not show symptoms until the following year. Apply mulch around trees to retain soil moisture, and water deeply and frequently to draw out salts.

Refrain from pruning evergreens or removing dry tips until new growth appears the following spring.

If high tides encroach on your property, the salt will form a layer on the surface of the soil, which can lead to dehydration. Most plants will not survive such a catastrophe, but soil can be restored: Water deeply, then spread gypsum over the soil. It will react with the salt to form sodium sulfate, which will repeatedly wash off the ground with water. Continue to water deeply for the rest of the year.


Jessica Damiano writes about gardening regularly for The Associated Press. A master gardener and educator, she writes The Weekly Dirt newsletter and creates an annual gardening calendar of daily gardening tips. send her a note at [email protected] And follow her on and Instagram @JesDamiano. search on,

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