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Hail Damage to Trees

Hail damage to landscapes is unfortunately a common problem many Colorado gardeners may face. Trees and shrubs can successfully survive if the proper maintenance is done after damage. When the wounds involve a large portion of cambial tissue in cases of especially severe tree damage, the tree’s survival is questionable.

Prune off any broken branches caused by hail. Use proper pruning cuts, taking care not to cut into the branch bark ridge. If trees or shrubs were split and large limbs were broken, clean the wounds with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Do not apply paint or wound dressings, but let the wound close naturally. If damage is too great, consider removing the plant.

Inspect branch wounds closely and monitor throughout the growing season. Many wounds will callous over with proper plant watering and maintenance.

Hail often destroys leaves, but trees may have enough reserves to re-leaf. Because this takes a lot of energy, be sure to give the tree adequate water throughout the summer (approximately one inch per week, depending on species). Applying two to three inches of mulch at the base of the trees and shrubs will also help moderate soil temperatures and maintain soil moisture.


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Updated Friday, April 19, 2013