3 Way to Protect Your Plants From Hail

Colorado weather can change in a matter of minutes, being prepared can save your plants from being destroyed by heavy rain or hail. Having systems in place can mean having a thriving garden or losing all your plants. In a pinch anything you can use to cover your plants will work as long it it isn’t too heavy to smash them. You will also want to make sure whatever you use is breathable so that you do not suffocate your plants. Below are a few ideas for protecting your plants.

  • Shade Cloth – This is my go to plant cover. In the heat of the summer I keep shade cloth over my beds to help reduce any heat stress on my plants, if it hails it is already in place to protect them. There are many varieties of shade cloth with differing light blocking percentages, I use 50%, it works really well in our hot summer months.(Most plants will go into dormancy when temperatures rise above 85°F, tomatoes and peppers will drop their blossoms, it things like okra will thrive.
  • Bug Netting – This is usually thinner than shade cloth, but can still offer protection against hail. This is beneficial in the early season when cabbage moths and other insects are looking to lay eggs on plants. Utilizing bug meeting early in the season also helps prevent pest pressure before it can become a bigger problem. If it is too thin though, it may rip with larger hail.
  • Frost Cloth – I have used frost cloth in a pinch to save my plants from hail. Keep in mind though that it can keep plants too hot by keeping the heat in under them. I do not recommend keeping frost cloth over plants unless it is early season and the temperature is cool otherwise it can do more harm than good. If you choose this material for hail protection, I suggest keeping it folded up in a garden storage bin next to your back door. This will allow you to grab it and cover plants in a pinch.

I have use all three materials for hail protection over the years with great results. You can of course use sheets, totes, buckets, chairs, pieces of burlap, tarps, umbrellas, etc. in a sudden storm. I have also done this many times and still do for plants in my front yard that are in large garden beds. We try to save as many plants as possible using whatever we have available. Make sure that if you do use something like a bucket or cups, etc that you remove them as soon as possible or they can suffocate the plants as mentioned above. Gardening season means being connected to weather patterns and making use of a weather app to know when the possibility of severe weather will hit. Just this week, on the day I was going to plant out my starts the forecast said 30% chance of rain. A light rain would be beneficial for new transplants, but the day time temperature was hot, which told me hail was a possibility. As soon as I decided to put my starts in our little greenhouse it started hailing! Thankfully my raised beds were protected with the shade cloth already, but some of my other plants were not. I am still watching to see what makes it and what doesn’t. Putting in the time and effort now can mean a world of difference int eh survival of plants in a hail storm. 

My raised beds with shade cloth to protect the plants from heat and hail.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s