The UK is hotter than it has been for 100 years and this summer, just like last, is set to be a scorcher.
It may be great news for many, but for our gardens it can cause havoc. To help, the experts at The Greenhouse People have given their top tips for protecting outdoor spaces when things get hot…
Hosepipe bans are a common heatwave annoyance, but it can save our plants from over-watering when temperatures rise which can cause them to leach nutrients and cut off the supply of oxygen to the roots.
Instead, pick up the watering can and provide focussed watering at the base of the plant, so roots can benefit as quickly as possible.
When it’s hot, the best time of day to water is early morning or in the evening. Plants in containers should be watered twice a day, as soil dries out much quicker in pots. Bonus points if you use re-use rainwater from a water butt.
If you add new plants to your garden in the summer, plant on a cloudy day and water well if the weather is warm. Increase the plant’s chances of surviving the heat by using half mulch half potting mix.
You might also want to consider drought-resistant plants alongside more heat-sensitive varieties to keep your garden looking healthy. Herbs such as rosemary, marjoram and lavender love the heat and their flavour and scent become more intense in the hot summer months.
Need for feed
The best way to breathe some life back into plants suffering in a heatwave is providing long-lasting moisture and rich nutrients.
Most gardeners can appreciate the benefit of mulching. This can hinder weeds, eliminating the need for hard work when you’d rather be sipping a cool drink in the shade, as well as offer nutrient-rich organic matter to provide a lifeline when things get hot.
If you lay down a thick layer, the top few inches of soil where most root activity occurs will be kept moist and cool. This will increase your crop yield if you’re a vegetable gardener and reduce the amount of watering needed no matter what you’re growing.
An item which will increase water retention is vermiculite. This can be found in potting soil or purchased by itself. A miracle product for gardeners, vermiculite increases nutrient retention and aerates the soil, resulting in healthier plants.
To keep your lawn lush during a heatwave, it is not necessary to use your entire postcode’s water supply. A well-established lawn should require minimal watering in increased temperatures. Once a week should be enough and your mowing routine should drop to once a week during periods of drought.
Before you mow, check the blades are sharp, to give a clean cut to the grass. When mowing, adjust your blade to a higher setting to ensure grass stems provide maximum shade to the soil. Afterwards, leave the cuttings instead of raking to provide shade and to avoid damaging your lawn.
If your lawn goes brown and crisp, like many last summer, don’t fret. When the rains and lower temperatures return it’ll soon recover.