Friday, May 20, 2011

Hail damage update

Last Sunday, we had a brief but intense hail storm unlike anything I had ever seen in the 14 years we’ve lived in Davis. Check out this post for details. 

Initially it looked like the damage would be fairly minor, but as you can see in the photos below, quite a few of our soft-leafed succulents (especially agaves and aeoniums) are dinged up. Luckily, the weather is warm and dry now so I don’t expect any rot to result from this as might have been the case in the winter. In addition, I’m telling myself that these are garden plants, not exhibition specimens, but I can’t help being a bit frustrated by the blemishes. If only I’d been with it and thrown blankets over the more sensitive plants. On the other hand, the hail came and went so quickly—and I was so busy taking photos of it—that I probably wouldn’t have been able to get to all of them anyway.

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Succulent bed next to the front door. Everything looks fine from a distance…
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…but up close you can see the dings caused by the hail stones, like on this Agave lophanta ‘Quadricolor’
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Closeup of Agave lophanta ‘Quadricolor’ leaf
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Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’
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Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’ closeup
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Even the very narrow leaves on this Agave dasylirioides sustained damage
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This is one of my very favorite succulents, Mangave ‘Bloodspot’. The damage is a bit harder to see because of its speckled leaves, but it’s there.

In addition to these and some other agaves, our dark-colored aeoniums show very visible damage. Their leaves are soft and sensitive anyway; the epidermis must be very thin indeed.

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Aeonium 'Zwartkop' looks pretty dinged up
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Aeonium ‘Voodoo', similar to ‘Zwartkop’
but with more green in the center and leaves that are less “black”
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Even this gray-green Aeonium haworthii shows hail damage,
and its leaves are noticeably thicker than ‘Zwartkop’ and ‘Voodoo’

Interestingly, the plants that got hit the hardest are the nasturtiums in our backyard. I had just commented on them the other day. Their leaves are super thin, and it looks like the hail stones went right through.

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Nasturtiums with punctured leaves

And yet, the largest-leafed plant in our garden, Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum,’ escaped unharmed. Its leaves are fairly thick and rubbery, and the hail stones must have simply bounced off.

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Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’

As ugly as it is, the damage to the succulents is purely cosmetic. However, since agaves and brethren aren’t exactly the fastest growers this isn’t something that will disappear over night.

I’ve learned my lesson and will be better prepared the next time—although it could be a year or two or even longer before we have hail again. Aside from occasional high winds, our area isn’t prone to extreme weather. In fact, even thunderstorms are so infrequent that I get a thrill out of them when they do occur.

2 comments:

  1. Really, it doesn't look that bad! At first I thought, "oh, that bloodspot really took a beating", but then realize the dark spots are supposed to be there.

    The holes punched in the nasturtium leaves -- that's what our hail damage in the summer usually looks like, but on the bigger-leaved plants. Glad your Farfugium wasn't damaged as it's beautiful!

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  2. I'm sorry about what happened to your plants! I live in elk grove and came across your page when I was trying to find out what could be damaging my so succulents. All the leaves look like what happened with yours. I got the answer now...we had hail last week here as well.

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