Giving up the garden? How much more stress can our plants take?

It's been a tough time for Colorado yards this year. 

This week's storm is just the latest snapshot in a series of damaging weather events. Our plants are not only dealing with this week's hail storm and the preceding ones, but also the rains in May and June plus the Mother's Day snowstorm plus the severe freeze last November. Plants have been beaten up in a series of unfortunate weather - and property owners are dealing with serious plant damage and loss

Longtime industry veterans say they've never seen this combination of devastating weather incidents before. One storm after another is taking a toll both on plant material and the ability to get work done.

Plant loss
Horticulturists predicted that the harsh freeze last November would damage or kill many plants - and it has. The most common casualties include ash trees and especially stone fruit trees such as cherry, plum and peach. Damaged shrubs include boxwood, privet, euonymus, burning bush, althea and spirea

Should plants be replaced with the same variety as the one that was lost?  If you love to see burning bush in the fall, by all means plant another one. Or take the opportunity to seek out new plants. Look for hardy varieties. You might like the new look.

Cumulative effects of moisture
While the Mother's Day snow storm was a typical Colorado weather event, it still caused damage. Many locust trees were damaged in that storm. The ongoing rains of May and June brought more moisture, humidity and saturated soils.

Saturated soils made evergreens, especially mature spruce, more susceptible to blow over in heavy winds. We expect to see more trees falling this season during high winds. Highly saturated soils will also cause oxygen starvation around roots as water pushes out the air molecules in the root zone. Roots need this breathing room to stay healthy and without it, plants will suffer.

Diseases and pests
Moisture and humidity will also set up conditions for certain plant diseases such as verticillium wilt and powdery mildew, which can impact many common edibles. The good news with some of these problems is that hot, dry weather is the natural cure. 

Pests thrive during stressful conditions, so be sure to work with an expert who can monitor plants for damaging levels of insects and treat them when needed.

Mud has delayed all kinds of landscape projects. Equipment can't work in mud, and you can't plant in saturated soil. Many companies are 4 to 6 weeks behind schedule simply because the ground has been too wet for work.

With each storm the backlog for tree services has also grown longer. Companies must triage the damage after each storm. Fallen or leaning trees posing danger to life and property are top priority, which then delays work that was already scheduled. 

Weather has made delays unavoidable. Be patient and know that it's worth the wait to have a good landscape company do the work as soon as Mother Nature lets up.

Need help getting your yard back in shape?  Find a Pro from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado with members in six chapters statewide.

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Get information to help your yard recover from storm damage.    

Need to dispose of tree limbs and dead plants? Find a list of recycling centers located near you.

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