Protect Your Garden and Landscape from Storm Damage

Lucy Mercer
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Storms | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Storms can undo all of your hard landscaping work very quickly. When severe weather is forecast, and even before, take precautions to protect your garden and landscape from storm damage.

Heavy rain and flooding

Good design will alleviate problems from most rainstorms. Raised garden beds, berms and trenches for stormwater runoff can direct the water away from the garden.

In the case of flooding, though, be aware that standing water is more damaging to vegetables and herbs than to flowers.

With enough notice, you may want to go ahead and harvest some of your vegetables and herbs.

You can put plants in containers and move them to higher ground. If flooding is a problem in your gardening area, head off damage by amending clay soils to improve drainage. 

Tip: Extremes of rain and drought can cause blossom end rot in tomatoes and inconsistent growth in other vegetables. Keep your garden consistently watered.

Lightning Strike Tree | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Lightning

Just like your house, tall trees can attract lightning. When lightning strikes a tree, it runs down the length of the tree through the sapwood. The resulting heat can blow the bark completely off the tree, damaging the tree and possibly nearby structures.

Lightning protection systems for trees are effective but can be expensive. If you have a significant or specimen tree to protect, talk with a certified arborist about installing a rod and cable system that will conduct the electricity away from the tree.

These systems do not increase the likelihood of lightning strikes. Instead, they conduct the lightning to the ground where it can dissipate. This can also protect your home from lightning and from damage that may come from a struck tree.

Hail Damage in Garden | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Hail

Tender plants like vegetables, herbs and flowers can be flattened and destroyed by hail storms.

When hail is forecast, cover plants with household objects like buckets and large pans from the kitchen weighted down with rocks. Patio furniture works as a cover, too.

Lean sheets of plywood, weighted down, against fences and other structures to protect plants along the edges.

If hail is a frequent problem in your area, consider floating row covers set over mini hoops to protect your raised garden beds.

In flower beds, cover plants with tarps and plastic sheeting draped over stakes that are placed in the corners of the garden.

Have covers ready to go when hail is on the way, and remove when the sun shines again.

Tip: Protect tomatoes if you’re in a hail-prone part of the country by putting a piece of hardware cloth over the top of the tomato cage.

Rain on Patio | The Home Depot's Garden Club

High winds

High winds can be devastating to trees and garden plants.

In designing your garden, protect tall plants by installing trees to serve as windbreaks.

In the garden, floating row covers can protect vegetables, and a 4-inch layer of mulch will shelter tender plants from high winds.

Wrap tall plants with row covers or burlap and secure with twine. New trees in windy climes can be stabilized with a tree support kit.

When winds move on out, unwrap and uncover plants so they can breathe again. 

Tip: Hurricane winds can cause ordinary objects to become projectiles. For this reason, store garden tools indoors.

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