Enduring the Storm

Batten down the hatches

The big story this week has revolved around storm Eunice which has ripped trees and fences alike free from their moorings across thousands of gardens in the UK and left untold destruction in its wake.

Thankfully, we’re only just leaving winter behind and so, for many of us, damage to the plants that we’ve so lovingly arranged and tended has been minimized because most of them simply aren’t above ground yet.

However, since extreme weather like Eunice is undoubtedly a product of continuing climate change, we have to anticipate that this is not the last of its ilk that we are going to see.

That being said, rather than watching heartbroken from the window as the wind uproots your favorite shrubs, there are steps you can take to storm-proof your garden and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.

Start small

Obviously the more intense a storm, the greater the scope of the damage it will be able to do but the reverse is also true, the more small and vulnerable a part of your garden might be, the more likely it will suffer. As such, you can start storm-proofing with a garden job you’d ordinarily make a part of your spring cleaning anyway, thereby killing two birds with one stone, and that’s clearing any debris.

Loose twigs, stones, bark, and branches are all light and easily picked up by wind which means they can quickly become projectiles that might threaten plant stems, greenhouses, and windows.

If you have large trees in or overhanging your garden, examine them for dead or dying limbs and remove any that you find, or talk to your neighbour about having them removed, to prevent a potential hazard down the line.

Clear all of these dangers early and get ahead of the next storm warning.

Secure your structures

Starting with smaller objects like birdbaths, feeders, and boxes, check on the fastenings for each and hammer in an extra nail or screw if you can, next move onto your greenhouse, shed, and boundaries like fencing or chicken wire.

The idea here is simply to reinforce whatever was already holding these things in place and also to make any quick repairs to their moving parts, like doors or hatches, to make sure these can’t be ripped free in high wind.

Any netting, plastic sheeting, or other pliable materials should either be taken into a hard structure or weighed down using soil, bricks, or sandbags.

Do be fastidious with these materials, one loose corner is all it takes for the wind to catch them, fill them, and lift them free of their moorings.

In the case of more mobile ornaments, such as overhead lighting, candle holders, or hanging baskets, we recommend taking them down entirely until a storm has passed.

Bolstering your plants

As we’ve previously mentioned, the majority of your plants shouldn’t be under threat this time of year since they’re unlikely to be blooming.

However, there are several perennial climbers, herbs, and hardier varieties whose stems will be vulnerable to breaking in particularly powerful gales.

There are three main options for protecting these plants depending on the resources and time at your disposal.

The first is to simply take them all inside until the weather calms but this might not be practical for the amount of space you have.

Second, you can follow the same advice as for your structures and double down on their moorings, adding extra clips or wire to more securely attach them to whatever anchor points are available.

Finally, you can go the opposite route and detach them from a standing position and then lay them flat in your garden and allow the wind to pass harmlessly over them.

Although we might have been a little late for Eunice this time around, we hope you’ll hang onto some of the sage advice from this article for the next big storm and that it can save you some heartache in the future.

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