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Summer survival: Charlie Albone helps to keep your yard green

Expert tips and tricks...
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Summer can be a dreadful time in the garden.

The strong heat and lack of rain can cause real damage to your precious oasis, but there are lots of things you can do to help ease the pain and retain a beautiful retreat.

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Weed it out

First up, you need to remove as many weeds as possible – these compete with your ornamental plants for water and nutrients – so you’ll be watering less with fewer weeds present. Then apply a soil wetting agent to all your beds and lawn too. Your soil can become hydrophobic in the heat. This is where water runs off and pools, rather than soaks into the ground. By applying a soil wetter in either a spray-on or granular form you will ensure any water, be it from irrigation or the sky above, will penetrate deep into the ground where it’s needed.

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Tending to your backyard in early morning or evening is best for your plants – and you! (Credit: Getty)

Get soaked

Once applied, make sure you soak the ground. While doing this, ensure you wash any excess soil wetter from the foliage of both gardens and lawns as this can burn in the heat if left on. Soaking the ground is like filling a reservoir in preparation for a dry period. The larger the reservoir, the less the evaporation will be and the cooler the root zone. 

Add mulch

Next, apply a layer of mulch to your soil. The optimum depth is 75mm as this will allow water in but help to retain that moisture in the soil by preventing excess evaporation. Any less and you lose the blanket effect of holding water in. Any more and the water finds it difficult to get to where it’s needed. Mulch will also prevent weeds from re-emerging and make your garden look much neater and tidier.

Summer survival… (Credit: Getty)

Water during certain times

When watering, try to avoid doing so in the middle of the day as you will lose too much from evaporation. Early morning, late afternoon or even evening is best. Water less often but with more volume to teach your plants to grow deep roots. This applies to both ornamental plants and your lawn. The deeper the roots are growing, the more adapt to drought they become as they can stay cooler.

Get shady

For pots and delicate plants, you can either move them into the shade or bring the shade to them by covering them with a cloth to prevent excessive burning. For hardy shrubs I wouldn’t bother as the odd day of high heat will work like a tip prune – as long as they get looked after post-heat spell.

Stay cool

Most importantly, try to garden in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler and stay out of the heat. You’re never a good gardener when you’re a hot gardener!

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