Cutting damaged foliage is key.

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Rain or shine, maintaining a flourishing outdoor garden requires a combination of care and watchfulness—it's important to monitor the conditions Mother Nature sends your way. Unfortunately, certain weather patterns can be difficult to overcome. Take hailstorms, for example. Falling lumps of ice can easily pierce your plants, but if you tend to them just right, you can save them in the end. Ahead, our expert shares exactly how to get your garden through a hail-induced rough patch.

Hail impacts foliage the most.

According to Venelin Dimitrov, a horticulturist at Burpee, hail will largely cause physical damage to a plant's foliage. "Depending on the intensity of the hail, foliage can become shredded or punctured," he shares. "Damage is more likely and can be more severe with broad-leafed plants." Not all of your leafy plants will experience severe changes, the expert notes. In fact, plants with serrated leaves, like ferns, can handle hail quite well. However, the lumps of ice do have the power to destroy fragile crops altogether, such as vegetables and cutting flowers

Group close-up of very big ice hailstones fallen from sky during a violent hailstorm in middle of plants and crocus flowers in bud in march end winter season
Credit: Gregory_DUBUS / Getty Images

Cut off damaged foliage and fertilize.

After a hailstorm makes its way through your community, assessing the damage should be your next step. "If the damage is too severe, it is best to remove all foliage or at least cut off the damaged areas similar to if you were pruning," Dimitrov explains. "After doing this, the plants will regrow everything that was cut off over time." Another pro tip? Use an all-purpose fertilizer, like the Organic Pure Gold All Purpose Fertilizer ($7.98, homedepot.com), which can help speed up your plants' recovery time.

Try insect dust.

If you don't end up removing damaged foliage, you should use insect dust. The product, like Diatomaceous Earth Indoor and Outdoor Crawling Insect Killer ($16.92, homedepot.com), will prevent plant infestation; the broken pieces of foliage can attract bugs. As for how to tell if your varieties are beyond salvaging? "They will have no foliage. If they are annuals, there is a short window to help them recover," adds Dimitrov. "Perennials, however, are more tolerant."

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