Let’s face it, bad weather can hit a nursery hard. In many cases, you’ve got a lot of inventory out in the open that’s vulnerable to the elements when they take a turn for the worse. Here, we review four of the top summer weather hazards facing nurseries.

 Hail 1. Hail

What weather event more than any other keeps nursery owners up at night? Most likely hail, says Nancy Zollo, claims representative with horticultural insurer Hortica.

“Hail damage can be significant,” says Zollo. “You could lose most of your product in one storm. It’s a big concern because hail can take the leaves off your plants. This affects your ability to sell the product that season. In some cases, the plants can grow out from the damage, but the peak selling season may have passed by that time.”

One option is to put up shade areas that might help protect your inventory. If you have greenhouses on the property, you may also temporarily move plants into the structures if you know a storm is approaching.

Remember to regularly update values of what you have on the premises in case you need to make an insurance claim.

Lightning2. Lightning

Another big headache that Mother Nature can cause nursery owners is lightning.

“Many nurseries have field irrigation pumps that are susceptible to lightning because they are out in the open,” says Zollo.

Also, nurseries often have other large capacity pumps and variable speed drive equipment that could get damaged by lightning.

“It’s a good idea to have a backup plan for your water supply. You may want to have the option to switch to city water for a short time in the event you lose a primary piece of equipment supplying water from a source on your property,” Zollo says.

High Winds3. High Winds

What else accompanies storms? Often high winds, which can also wreak havoc on a nursery. In addition to limiting the potential for damage to plant stock, it’s important for nurseries with greenhouses to make sure their structures are engineered for the wind speeds in their areas.

“The local city building codes have general guidelines, but for any kind of greenhouse construction, you want to make sure you follow what is recommended in the International Building Code (IBC),” says Zollo.

4. Flooding

FloodingBut let’s not overlook floods. Nurseries have a right to be nervous about flash floods and heavy rain, which sometimes go along with storms. Flood is a peril that is not insured on a standard Commercial Insurance Policy. However, wholesale nurseries may be eligible for the Federal Nursery Crop program.

It is important to know your insurance policy. There may be optional coverage you can purchase, or higher limits on some coverage that is currently on your policy.

“For example, if you have $25,000 in coverage for hail damage to plants in the open as part of your insurance policy, ask if there are higher limits available,” Zollo says.

When looking for an insurance carrier for your nursery business, contact a company that knows the industry.

“The plant and horticultural industry is unique, so if someone understands the growing business, it’s a benefit,” says Zollo.

Nursery Know-How: Summer Hazard Checklist

  • Update your inventory value regularly.
  • Maintain backup generators in case of weather-related power outages.
  • Explore your options for coverage under the Federal Nursery Crop program.
  • Build your structures according to IBC guidelines to help them withstand damaging winds.
  • Don’t wait for a disaster to hit: Review your coverage and adjust if necessary.

This document is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. No one should act on the information contained in this document without advice from a local professional with relevant expertise.  77-44  24001847 5/10/17

This content is sponsored by Hortica. Sponsored content is authorized by the client and does not necessarily reflect the views of the American Nurseryman editorial team.