Hail damage

Posted: Tuesday 17 April 2012
by Pippa Greenwood

We’ve just had two big bouts of hail and my poor old plants have taken a battering.

Hailstones around border plants

We’ve just had two big bouts of hail and my poor old plants have taken a battering. Hail in winter is almost harmless, as hardy plants are well prepared for a seasonal onslaught, including hailstones. But hailstorms (and that is the only description for the happening a few days ago) in April are potentially devastating.

The warm, moist weather of the last few weeks on my Hampshire hillside has encouraged lots of plants to put on delicate new growth. And now some of that new growth has taken on a floppy, almost lace-like appearance, as those lovely tender leaves have been blasted with mini cannonballs of ice.

Everything growing inside the frames and tunnels is fine, though some of the fleece coverings were weighed down low with a layer of hailstones 1-2cm deep.

I’ve left some of the damaged growth in place, but I picked most of it off the plants, and anything edible was given to the hens and geese, as an unexpected, but very welcome treat. I hope, that having done this I’ll be minimising the risk of damaged growth succumbing to grey mould infection.

Grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) attacks salad crops through cuts and tears in the leaves. If small parts of the foliage are affected, you can see the fungus covering them and throw those parts away. But at its worst it can kill the whole plant, leaving behind a slimy mess. I hope I’ve managed to dispose of all the hailstone damage that could make my plants vulnerable. Fingers crossed!

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Talkback: Hail damage
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LifeonPigRow 18/04/2012 at 18:41

Hail is awful at this time of year. Two weeks ago we where battered by the NE wind and it brought in eight foot snow drifts on the Yorshire Moors. The wind picked up our 10 x 12 shed and deposited down the hillside. My fruit bushes are scorched but recovering and the new orchard I planted was touch and go as it bore the brunt of it. They always said that April was a cruel and fickle month and sure enough it is living up to its name this year. Sorry that you got hail down in your neck of the woods.

SSR 19/04/2012 at 10:48

I live in Melbourne Australia and we had one day of hail storm around Xmas time and there was no leave in my garden that was intact. Pretty devastating but I've realised that the garden is more resilient than it looks and it recovered quite well. In fact, I suspect the hail storm extended the fruiting season for a lot of plant

Fricks70 24/04/2012 at 19:55

Im just wondering if this is whats happened to my plants and veg foliage,even my onion foliage has all dot marks on them peas and cabbages etc all have the same marks on them,could this be the damage from the hail or even heavy rain...

Alina W 24/04/2012 at 21:18

Bruising such as you describe is quite common from hail, yes.

AnnetteC 13/05/2012 at 10:43

The mini tornado in Oxfordshire brought a dreadful hailstorm. This shredded leaves, knocked off flower heads and buds. My neighbours hostas look as if they have been attacked by an army of slugs and snails. i am sure they will recover, but such a mess.