Summer is here, but is your garden ready? Here's a handy checklist to help you prepare and get your garden through the warmer months of Summer:
1. Water wisely: A well-established lawn should require minimal watering during hot weather, but if you want to water it invest in an irrigation system for an efficient water distribution.
Kits with timers are best, set for early morning or late evening to allow water enough time to soak into the soil before the sun's heat speeds up evaporation and transpiration.
2. Keep mowing: Keep your mower blade on its higher setting so grass stems can provide shade for the soil. Leave the cuttings on the lawn to act as a mulch, as it helps to retain moisture and shade the soil. Make sure the blades are sharp, to ensure a clean cut.
3. Mulch: Choose well-composted mulches on borders, such as bark chips or well-shredded garden prunings. This will provide a vital barrier to cool the soil and hold moisture.
4. Water butts: Invest in a water butt to create a reservoir for your garden from any thunder storms that come your way. Rainwater is much better for your plants than tap water - and cheaper, too.
5. Change your fertiliser: Hot weather reduces the soil's ability to absorb the nutrition in fertilisers, and it can often have the opposite effect and burn plants, souse liquid fertilisers that have improved absorption in high temperature.
6. Use drought-proof plants: Choose plants that require minimal watering, such as sedum, lavender, cistus (rock roses), achilleas, dahlias, salvia, penstemons, geraniums and artemisia.
And for your potted plants…
Plants in terracotta pots, are vulnerable to overheating. Lightly mulch and, where possible, position them out of hot sun. Remember that standing potted plants in saucers of water encourages root rot and insect breeding. Instead, stand them in saucers filled with sand, and keep the sand moist. This ensures roots stay cool and plants remain healthy. If potted plants dry out to the point where re-wetting is hard, soak them in a bucket of water for half an hour, then drain.
Also remember to…Take Care of Yourself
It's safer, and you're more likely to do a better job, if you complete energetic work such as mowing in the cool of the day – either before 10am or after 4pm. A good drink of water and a smear of sunblock are essential. Sometimes that one five-minute job often leads to another, and another. Sunblock takes 15 minutes to create its protective layer,so use that time to plan your day in the garden. Don't forget your hat (or umbrella) and sun glasses too. Save some light tasks, such as weeding or propagating, to complete in the comfort of a shady spot.
If you’d like to receive more gardening and grounds maintenance tips from us, straight to your inbox,then sign up to receive our seasonal newsletter here.