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Oh Hail!

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 7/10/20

Sometimes it is difficult to come up with what to write about that is both helpful and relevant to what is going on right now outside. With that in mind I am going to focus this week on keeping your …

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Oh Hail!

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Sometimes it is difficult to come up with what to write about that is both helpful and relevant to what is going on right now outside. With that in mind I am going to focus this week on keeping your plants watered, but also the damage done by the hailstorm some areas saw this past Monday night.

First the issues with watering, I had a customer come in with pictures of a butterfly bush that she had recently planted that was fine when she watered it in the morning but by late afternoon it was already starting to dry up. We have problems like this at work, but our plants are still in the pots, hers was in the ground.

But we have had a string of hot days with relatively no rain and your plants can't call you at work when they are thirsty. The ground water tables are very low which means watering more often and for longer periods of time are in order.

Using timers and soaker hoses are a good way to make sure your plants get the water they need, but be careful because newly planted plants will need a little more water than established plants, because they do not have the root base that your established plants have.

Another trick to water new trees or shrubs is to take a one to two foot piece of old garden hose and put one end in the bottom of the hole for your plant, when planting, and keep the other end above ground by the side of the hole.

This way after your plant is in the ground you can slowly pour water down the piece of hose to water the bottom of the root ball and encourage the roots to grow deeper. Watering deeper is very important to get your roots growing downward.

If you only water from the top you need to make sure to water for a long enough period of time so that the water can sink deep into your soil. If you only water for a short time, you may only get the first inch or two of soil wet and this will encourage your plant roots to come to the surface were they will dry out sooner and are more likely to die over the winter as well.

Watering container plants is very difficult with the hot sunny days as well. Just watering your containers in the morning may not be enough on these hot days. We have to keep watering our containers at work all day long, but for homeowners there are ways to keep your containers watered. There are a number of products that you can fill with water and place in your container, so that the water will drip out over the course of the day.

Also you can take some cotton twine or rope and use it as a wick, to allow water from a container of water to go to your plant over time. With all watering, just make sure not to over-water, as sometimes your plants will weep even when they have enough water. They do this to protect themselves from drying out from evaporation of water from the underside of the leaves.

And then came the rain Monday evening and your watering problems for the day are over, but along with the rain came hail in some areas. In Swan Lake, we only had rain, but as I drove to work on Tuesday, I could see the damage done by the storms on the side of the road. It was like fall with all the leaves on the road but they were all still green.

The hail just ripped through the leaves shearing them clean off their stems. At work as I did an inspection of our garden center there was a lot of minor hail damage around. Our trees and shrubs had some leaves sheared off and some of the perennials got hit as well.

But the items that were hit the worst, was our garden tubs and water lilies. Unfortunately, unless you grow everything in a greenhouse or have a shade covering over your garden, hail is just something you have to deal with. There is no garden fence or repellent that will keep hail away. Oh Hail!

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