Salt and Wind Damage

After much hype and preparedness, Tropical Storm Irene blew across the island on Sunday with, thankfully, far less damage than forecasted. Now that any major issues resulting from the storm have been taken care of, and broken tree limbs have been cleared away, the flower garden might seem a little worse for wear! High wind, combined with salt spray and sand have left many plants with broken stems, and tattered leaves. Unfortunately, the battering and desiccating effect of the wind will continue to become more and more noticeable over the next few days.

Although the damage seems severe, especially in unprotected areas, remember that plants are resilient. It may look like someone has taken a blow torch to many of your prised plants today, but in time, nearly every plant will make a total recovery! So what can we do to help speed the process along and improve the overall look of the garden?

  • Give your plants a gentle shower with the hose to rinse off any salt that is still on the leaves.
  • It’s still hot out there! Be ready to add supplemental water in the areas of the garden that tend to get dry. Additional stress from drought will hamper growth.
  • Where time and patience allow, remove brown leaves from plants in the most visible areas of the garden.
  • Cut back, or re-stake tall perennials that have been blown over.
  • Visit the Nursery! A few well-placed additions to the garden can really help brighten things up, as we transition into the shoulder season.
Stewartia serrata  salt and wind damaged foliage
Stewartia serrata salt and wind damaged foliage