Recovery from hail damage - Stone fruit
It is important to inspect damage of stone fruit trees as soon as possible after a hail event as the level of damage can be obscured by subsequent growth. Hail can impact on the foliage, flowers, stems, branches and fruit in various ways:
- Trees can be completely stripped of leaves and fruit.
- Leaves can be bruised, torn, tattered, have holes in them or completely knocked off the plant.
- Stems and branches can be broken or bruised and scarred.
- Flowers can be damaged but it is harder to assess unless flowers have been knocked off the plant.
- Fruit can be bruised, have chunks of flesh removed or be knocked to the ground.
- Trees can be misshapen by broken limbs and may need retraining.
- Pests and diseases can enter fruit and bark through wounds caused by hail.
- Fallen fruit can harbour pests and diseases.
Those with hail damage insurance should contact their insurer and arrange for damage assessment.
Management of hail-damaged trees
- Hail wounds on the fruit and bark may need fungicides to prevent disease entry.
- Wounds are a key infection site for disease, and particularly bacterial diseases.
- Severely damaged stems and branches should be pruned off as soon as possible to prevent infections. Stems of branches should be sealed to protect against infection.
- To reduce the risk of pests and disease remove or mulch fruit that has fallen to the ground.
- Replacement of young trees may be necessary if damage to the plants is severe enough.
- Fertilizers and irrigation applied at optimum levels will help the trees overcome the stress caused by the hail damage.
- Inspect damaged plants more frequently for pests and diseases.
- Where practical, large wounds on trunks and branches should be covered with a water-based paint to avoid desiccation and disease infection.
- Summer pruning may be necessary to retrain young trees and optimise new growth.
- Use fruit thinning to selectively remove hail-damaged fruit and to improve yield and quality of remaining fruit.
Contact/Services available from DEPI
Correct diagnosis is essential for effective pest and disease control. A commercial diagnostic service is available at the DEPI AgriBio (Bundoora)
For further information, contact:
Crop Health Services
Phone: (03) 9032 7000
Fax: (03) 9032 7058
Written by Farm Services, October 2011. Reviewed in August 2013.