The summer can have devastating effects on plant life, especially when the weather becomes even hotter than expected. Luckily, there are things you can do to protect your garden from long hot summers, ensuring your plants stay as safe and healthy as possible.
Get a head start.
Before the hot weather even hits, you may wish to consider the months ahead. Weather sites, news channels or even your local newspaper will be posting updates on the predicted conditions for the summer ahead, offering advice on the hottest days and highest temperatures. Knowing what you may be dealing will with allow you to take precautionary measures in protecting your plants.
Keep track of your water usage.
Hot weather can also bring on a drought or water limitation, so you may need to evaluate your water use carefully and cut back if necessary.
You can save water by using mulch to retain the moisture within your soil, watering in the early morning of in the evening to avoid evaporation, using a watering spike or adding a fertiliser treatment to your soil to avoid heat stress and protect your plants.
On the other hand, if no restrictions have been set, your grass could likely benefit from plenty of hydration. Try using a sprinkler to save time and ensure your entire lawn is covered.
Increase shady areas.
It can be easy to increase levels of shade in your garden to protect your plants from long, hot, sunny days. You could use shade sails or, for a more permanent solution, plant hardy trees such as palms to block the sun from reaching specific beds or areas.
In the meantime, or if you’re on a budget, try using an old sheet or curtain, combined with a washing line to hang it up and provide shade wherever you need it. If you’re only planning on using this method in the short term; however, it’s best to remove it quickly. Once the plant has become accustomed to the shady area, it will suffer more stress and damage when it is once again exposed to sunlight. Choose your methods wisely on this one.
Tailor your protection to your plants.
The types of plants you grow in your garden can help to determine the most effective method of protection.
- Vegetables: Vegetables shouldn’t normally be hurt by a short blast of hot weather; however, if the weather is going to be abnormally hot over a longer period, they may experience heat shock which could stunt their growth. They may also begin to wilt; however, they may recover from this during the evening when the temperature begins to cool and the air moistens. If you’re expecting a hot summer, try moving your vegetables to a more suitable area, making them less exposed to the heat. You should also be aware that the plants may adapt to the heat and begin to grow differently. For example, herbs or leafy greens may begin to produce seeds rather than edible yield, while tomatoes, for example, may grow in short bursts then die out. This is your plants telling you they’re unhappy with their environment.
- Lawns: While lawns may be prone to dying out during hotter months, they often grow back once the weather is more suitable. To ensure it stays as healthy as possible throughout the summer, water longer and slower to allow it to absorb the water, as well as using a soil wetting agent to ensure moisture. You should also avoid chemical fertilisers which can be drying or even cause chemical burning.
- Shrubs and Flora: Shrubs require a milder environment, so they often do not take well to the heat. Ensure shade and plenty of water as well as providing regular trimming to encourage leaf growth, creating more shade in the process. Misting regularly can also increase their protection as the water is absorbed through their leaves. Furthermore, you may move the plants to a cooler, shadier area, or even bring them indoors if you think they’re healthy enough to withstand a change in their environment.
Categorise your plants.
When you categorise your plants according to their needs, such as watering or fertiliser application, you’ll be able to quicken the process for yourself, as well as allowing the plants to develop their own small ecosystems in order to protect each other from natural effects such as the heat.
Increase wind breaks.
The wind is known for its drying effects on soil, mulch and plants, so it’s important to protect your garden from the excess wind. To do this, why not try fencing or a hedge? These aspects can add visual appeal to your garden while still providing adequate protection.
If you’re choosing the fencing option, try to avoid sheet metal fencing, as this can get very hot and radiate this heat on to your plants. Try a wooden fence, or if you already have a metal design set up, try installing a screen in between the fence and the plants to prevent heat from passing through.
Accept that some plants may not survive.
Yes, it can be disappointing to accept that some of your plants may not survive the heat, even with adequate protection, but unfortunately, there are some types of plants that simply cannot withstand it.
In order to ensure their protection rather than risking them dying in your garden, why not donate them to zoos, nurseries, botanical gardens or similar horticultural locations, as they are often supported by organisations who will have the means to protect the plant efficiently.
Alternatively, you could even offer your plant as a gift to a friend based in a cooler area.
By taking good care of your garden throughout the summer months, you can ensure it stays healthy and looking its best, saving you from having to regenerate it in the future.
Have you taken any steps to protect your garden throughout long, hot summers? Tell us your finest tips below and inspire others to take great care of their crops!