When a tornado hits your area, trees and shrubs are susceptible to wind damage. This can result in broken trunks, shredded leaves, and other serious problems.
If you have a garden that has been damaged by a tornado, there are some things you can do to help your plants recover. But first, you must assess the damage to your trees and large shrubs.
Plant a windbreak.
A windbreak can be planted to protect houses, roads and buildings. It can also screen out noises and provide wildlife habitat.
The most effective windbreaks are planted with multiple rows of trees and shrubs. Choose the best species of trees and shrubs that are hardy to your area and soil conditions.
Multi-layered windbreaks consist of several rows with different types of trees and shrubs, with dense evergreens in the center and more open plants on the outer edges. Dense windbreaks prevent the air from flowing through gaps in the tree trunks and reduce prevailing winds.
Windbreaks can provide many environmental benefits such as reduced soil erosion, living screens and odor abatement. They can also increase property values by increasing the appeal of a yard and adding visual interest.
Support tall plants.
If your garden includes towering tomato plants, okra, or other tall-growing vegetables and flowers, it is important to give them support. Several types of supports can be used, including simple stakes and trellises.
Plant supports should be as unobtrusive as possible, especially if you’re using them for ornamental purposes. They help keep the stems of tall-growing plants upright and can also help prevent them from becoming damaged by wind or rain.
A good example of a tall houseplant is the bird of paradise (Cyperus pachytenes). This fern grows up to six feet and doesn’t require much care on your part. Just provide some light and water every few weeks.
Mulching your landscape with mulch is a great way to protect the soil from erosion and improve the health of your plants. It reduces water loss, suppresses weeds and prevents temperature extremes.
When choosing a mulch, it is best to avoid products that are not organic or contain chemicals that can be harmful to your plants. Examples of these include black mulches made from wood waste, colored mulches (dyed pine bark fines or old pallets), and shredded tree limbs.
These types of mulches often have a very high carbon to nitrogen ratio that can cause a “nitrogen tie-up” in the soil which results in poor plant growth and increased disease and insect problems.
Composting mulches for a period of time before using eliminates these problems and also helps to keep the fungus that grows on fresh mulches at bay. Some fungal spores may still appear on the surface of the mulch as it decays, however these signs will eventually disappear as the mulch continues to decompose.
Move potted plants.
Plants in containers are more susceptible to damage during a tornado because of their fragile nature. They are also more likely to get injured by a storm, so it is important to move them before the weather turns bad.
If possible, move them indoors, into a screened porch or patio, or inside your garage or shed. If not, put them under an overhang or tucked into a corner to protect them.
When moving plants, be sure to water them well a few days before the move and pack them most effectively for transportation. Avoid cramming them in with heavy boxes, which could cause the plants to tip over and break.
Make sure to use a lightweight potting mix for potted plants, which provides good drainage and holds moisture. You can also buy a soilless mix that is made especially for container plants, such as coir, peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite. Don’t use garden soil, which is too heavy and can compact the roots.