It’s been a couple weeks of crazy weather in Calgary, with just about every kind of summer forecast possible having happened. As we’ve been visiting our landscaping customers’ properties,we’ve been noticing some damage from sun, hail, and excessive rainfall. Trees, shrubs, and plants are struggling after the intense heat wave followed by several days of heavy rain (and hail). There are signs of sunscald from the hot weather, as well as hail damage and the loss of topsoil. We know that it’s difficult to see your much-cared-for plants struggling, but a little extra care and attention can help bring them back to health. Don’t wait too long, though. Failing to act can leave your plants weak and less able to handle the winter.
Many flowering perennials were just about to bloom before the heatwave hit, and their delicate buds ended up being literally burnt by the sun. Brown and dead buds are signs of sunscald, as are dry, withered, brown spots on leaves, branches and trunks. If many leaves have suddenly fallen off one of your trees, it may be sunscald.
Sunscald can’t be cured or fixed, but you can do your best to assist your plants in surviving until they are able to begin to regenerate. If the weather gets extremely hot again, and it more than likely will, you may want to cover damaged plants with a sunscreen to protect the delicate new growth and restrict their exposure to UV light. This process is known as hardening and will help your plants get used to both sun and heat again. Provide your plants with plenty of water and consider adding a small amount of fertilizer or compost for extra nutrients. Don’tremove the dead parts right away ― they are performing an important job by sheltering the new growth from the elements.
Dealing with hail damage
Hail is tough on the leaves of shrubs and trees, ripping them up and punching holes straight through. Annuals and perennials take the most severe beating from hail, as their delicate petals cannot handle the force of impact and they can be pushed downfrom the weight of the hailstones.
As Alberta is prone to severe hailstorms, gardeners are wise to carefully watch the weather and try to prevent hail damage in the first place. Move flowerpots to shelter if hail is in the forecast, and cover other plants with buckets, garbage cans, or blankets tented by stakes. You can even buy protective shelters from your local garden store.
If the damage has already been done, avoid a heavy prune until your plants have recovered some. You can trim off the broken twigs and leaves, but don’t overstress your plants by removing a large amount of branches or foliage. A light application of herbal fungicide may be helpful for keeping bugs and pestsaway from your healing plants.
Measure your topsoil
Although it was great to get some much-needed moisture, most people don’t realize that a hard rainfall such as the one we had July 2 after days of extreme heat actually causes more harm than good. When the ground is that dry it takes much longer for moisture to penetrate. If the rain is coming down too hard, waterwill just run off the surface and into gutters, taking with it lots of valuable topsoil and its nutrients. The flash flooding that occurred throughout the city, with many major intersections shut down and several side streets completely covered with water, evidences this.
Take a look at your beds and gardens for signs of soil loss. All good gardens and beds should have at least six inches of topsoil before hitting the harder clay Alberta is known for. Add more if needed, and even stir in some rich compost for added nutrients.
There were also reports of at least three major lightning strikesin the city on July 2. Check your trees for any broken and hanging branches, especially near power lines, that could become a hazard.
Lawns bouncing back
Lawns are making a good bounce back after the amount of rain we have received over the past week, but they, too, may have lost some nutrient-rich topsoil over the past week. This can cause your grass to thin out and burn. If we notice areas that have become patchy and yellow, we might suggest an application of topsoil and seed to help thicken it back up again.
Count on Mirage Landscaping for all your property maintenance needs
Our family-owned company has been specializing in helping property owners throughout Calgary keep their homes and businesses looking great for low prices. For three generations, we’ve been delivering affordable services that exceed customer expectations. You can familiarize yourself with our work by browsing our online portfolio of successful past projects.
We are pleased to offer custom quotes that allow you to put together a uniquely designed service package, according to your specific needs. Use our online form, enter your information and project details, and one of our team members will perform an evaluation and get in touch with you to offer a low and affordable price quote. It’s fast and easy.