Bruce Bordelon, Professor, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University
Mother Nature has been tough on fruit and vegetable growers. Frosts, freezes, excess heat and drought have all occurred this season. And now we can add one more natural disaster…hail. This past week, severe thunderstorms rolled through Tippecanoe County, producing high winds and large, damaging hail. The Meigs Horticulture Research Farm south of Lafayette was hit hard. Below is a set of pictures showing the damage to a variety of crops from our research trials. There is little that can be done at this point. Some of the vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers, will continue to grow and produce new fruits that may ripen before fall. Other crops like pumpkins may be a complete loss. The fruit crops are also a near complete loss. Damaged fruit will rot or be greatly reduced in quality and likely not marketable. And, damage to shoots and bark on fruit plants may lead to problems next year. Some fungal and bacterial cankers could form on the damaged woody tissues. And for younger plants, damaged tissue removed at pruning and not used to establish permanent parts of the plant.
Events like we’ve witnessed this season can be discouraging, but experienced growers remain optimistic that next year will be better. Let’s hope so!
Click image to enlarge
Picture 1. Apples fruit with hail damage
Picture 2. Tomatoes severely damaged by hail
Picture 3. Pepper damaged by hail
Picture 4. Cantaloupe with hail damage
Picture 5. Pumpkin with hail damage
Picture 6. Grape clusters, leaves and shoots damaged by hail
Picture 7. Grape shoots with hail damage
Picture 8. Sweet corn with hail damage