Storms and heavy rain can wreak havoc in our gardens by uprooting plants, damaging stems, and pulverizing blossoming flowers. Whilst it might look like an impossible task at first glance after a particularly bad storm, now’s in fact a great opportunity to clear out the old, dig up the weeds and revitalize those plants that are still salvageable. Here you’ll find 7 essential tips that are always top of our list when the clear-up begins.
1) Check for Exposed Plant Roots
Heavy rain and wind can have a dramatic impact on soil erosion leaving the roots of plants and shrubs exposed to the elements. Different soil types are going to have varying degrees of damage as well.
For those plants and shrubs that have literally been turned upside down, you’ll need to carefully assess the overall root structure to determine if the plant can be successfully replanted. Where there is less damage present and only a small fraction of the plant’s roots are showing simply cover with soil and compost and gently ease the plant back into its existing spot.
2) Remove Broken Stems
You’ll need to survey your plants and shrubs to identify broken or damaged branches and stems. Armed with a sharp pair of garden scissors or shears cut back the affected areas as close to the stem as possible. This will ensure your plant doesn’t waste any energy and will revitalise faster.
3) Don’t fertilize immediately
Once you’ve cleared the debris, trimmed back the plants, repotted and patched up where necessary, give your plants and shrubs a period of time (at least 2 to 3 weeks) to recover on their own before considering any form of fertilizer or plant feed. The growth boost is not beneficial when the plant’s overall structure and health has been compromised.
4) Remove Plants and Shrubs that aren’t Salvageable
It’s always a tough decision to completely remove a plant or shrub. If the storm was particularly damaging to certain plant life you’ll need to be ruthless and remove those with minimal chance of regrowing. Your garden will benefit from the re-introduction of healthy new plants and shrubs.
5) Post-storm is a Great Time for Weeding
The soft ground and soil is the perfect time for extended clearing of weeds. In addition to tidying up the general debris, remove all weeds present which will be much easier now compared to drier conditions.
6) Drain Pots and Planters in your Garden
Stagnant water is one of the most common causes of root rot and fungal infections in plants. Be sure to drain standing pots and planters in your garden that have received excessive soaking due to the weather.
7) Aerate the Soil
Heavy rain can cause the soil to compact in garden beds and pots. A simple garden fork (or a dedicated aerator tool) can be used to create little air pockets and holes in the soil to allow air to flow and improve drainage.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.