With weather boffins warning we’re in for a warmer than average summer, here’s how to keep your garden from getting crispy.
Whether you’re talking lawn, trees or plants, keeping your garden nice and cool throughout the hot summer days is all about soil texture, nutrients, mulch and water. Composts – think manure, vegetable substances, provide nutrients, while mulch keeps soil cooler. When it comes to water, go for irregular long soaks over a more frequent short watering sesh – this allows the water to get deep into the soil. And never water in the peak of the day, as it’ll dry up super quickly and be wasted (and may even ‘burn’ the surface.)
Keep your lawn fed
Keeping the lawn green can feel like a losing battle in the summer months, but taking care of the soil will help keep it green. “Wetting agents can help soil retain the water you are giving it, and delivers it deep into the soil, strengthening the root structure,” says Katie Eggleton, Bunnings Greenlife buyer. She also recommends adding organic matter such as mulch and compost, which also help with moisture retention.
Leaving grass un-mowed for longer helps lawn shade itself and allow moisture to be retained. Along the same lines, Katie says it’s best to steer clear of heavy fertilizing applications in the heat of summer, as this will cause your plants and lawn to overwork and most likely dry out, causing the leaves to burn.
What if you don’t have reticulation?
While installing reticulation is the easier way to care for lawns and plants over summer – especially if you are going away, the finances (or for some, the resident dogs) don’t allow for it. Katie says there are products to help lessen your load, and help your garden survive when you go away. She recommends stocking up on timers and multi outlet tap attachments, so you can attach and leave travelling sprinkler hoses, watering spikes for potted plants or soaker hoses to do the job for you. Give your DIY ‘auto’ set-up a trial run for a week while you’re home so you can identify any trouble spots – you may need to move some pots around to ensure they get a soak.
“In addition to making sure the garden gets the water it requires, shaded areas are a big must to ensure you don’t come home to a crispy garden,” says Katie. She recommends installing shade sails, gazebos or plenty of shade providing trees to give your garden more protection from the peak of the summer heat and sunlight.
Caring for pot plants
A gentle plant conditioner like , which contains plenty of trace elements and soil conditioners to help keep plants strong and healthy in the warm weather and reduce plant and root stress.
Water crystals can used for potted plants as they work to store water and only release it once the weather becomes hot and the plant needs a drink. Katie also recommends watering spikes, which are handy products that attach to the average drink bottle, and once turned upside down in pots, slowly release water to feed into the plant. She says tree rings reduce water run-off and protect your plants from drying up.
Operation fix up
If you’ve gone away for a week and come home to a crispy looking garden, you may be able to save the day with some quick action. Katie recommends applying a wetting agent, as the soil will likely be dry. “Once you’ve given the garden a good drink with the wetting agent, use a soil conditioning product like Seasol & Powerfeed to help revive the plant. Conditioning products can be used on lawns as well as most plants,” she says.